Open water swimming

Taplow Lakeside OWS sessions are on Wednesday mornings, Thursday evenings and Saturday and Sunday Mornings in the Summer and in winter it is just Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.

There are two courses, The Swim Secure course at 400m and, a 100m course for beginners and those who prefer not to go too far from the shore.
Taplow operates under the NOWCA safety system so swimmers need a NOWCA wristband to use the facilities although we do allow a trial swim if you want to try the lake out before you join NOWCA.

You can register for a band and book swims through the ACTIO app which can be downloaded free (for both android and Iphone). Cost of joining NOWCA is only £15.00 per year, which includes your wristband and insurance.

Once you are a member of NOWCA you buy swims for Taplow Lakeside through the app, 10 swim credits are £60.00. Single swims are £6.50 For further information go to nowca.org

For those new to OWS and feel they could do with some support we can supply a swim buddy who will swim with you for your first few swims. We also supply tow floats for the first few swims to give you a little more support.

For further information on Taplow Lakeside OWS please call 01628 782113.

Open Water Swimming Rules

All swimmers must be registered with NOWCA and scan in and out of the water using their safety wristband. Although new swimmers can have one trial swim before joining NOWCA.

All swimmers need to wear a brightly coloured swim cap whilst in the water. Green caps are not allowed as they are worn by professional medics who are swimming with us.

If swimmers do not wish to wear a wetsuit they need to sign a waiver form to accept the risks in not doing so. For safety reasons all swimmers must wear a tow float.

Children aged 8 to 11, with Open water swimming experience, are allowed to swim in the lake if they have a responsible adult swimming with them, the responsible adult should be within 2 metres of the child at all times. Adult to child ratio is 1 to 1.

Children aged 12 to 17, with open water swimming experience, are allowed to swim in the lake as long as an adult is present on site and the adult always keeps the child in direct sight whilst they are in the water.


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Trial Open Water Swim

Book a trial open water swimming session at Taplow Lakeside for just £7pp!

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20 swim credits are £126.00
10 swim credits are £66.50
Single swims are £7.00

Session times

October 23 - March 24:

Wednesday 07.30 - 08.30
Saturday 08.30 – 10.30
Sunday 08.30 – 10.30

Bookings should be made in advance using the Actio App.

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Open Water Swimming Coaching

Stephen Gould is a resident coach at Taplow Lakeside and runs our programme of OWS technique / safety courses. Stephen is local to Taplow and has been competitively swimming since he was 8 years old. He transitioned from the pool to OWS when he was 21 - You can guess how many years OWS he has under his belt and here’s a photo to help!

Stephen has tremendous experience of OWS, including organising and being part of English Channel crossings, competing in the World Cold Water Swimming Championships and has numerous long distance swimming achievements. He is an ISA qualified Swimming Teacher and an STA qualified Open Water Swim Coach. He is also a Swim Guide for SwimQuest, a contributory adviser to Outdoor Swimmer Magazine, an OWS consultant to a number of organisations and an Open Water Swimming Goodwill Ambassador for Zoggs for the 2021/2022 season. Stephen has a particular interest in cold water/ice swimming, and this is something we will be working with him to develop at Taplow Lakeside.

Carine Evans is our other resident coach at Taplow Lakeside, Carine is a qualified STA Level 2 open water coach and also a professional Holistic Therapist with 18 years experience. She helps her clients manage their health & wellbeing naturally through therapies & supporting changes to their lifestyle. Carine runs our ‘Blue Wellbeing’ Programme which introduces people gently into the blue water at Taplow Lakeside and supports people to gain an understanding of how to use cold water as part of a holistic health practice for self-care & exercise. Carine has been a swimmer since she was tiny as both her parents were swim coaches. After an injury caused her to give up competitive swimming, she trained to be a swim teacher herself and has helped many people to learn to swim including children with disabilities.

Available courses

Blue Wellbeing Programme

Our Blue Wellbeing programme is an initial 4 week course designed to introduce you gently into the blue water at Taplow Lakeside. We are sure you have heard of how swimming in nature, and particularly colder water), can be beneficial for your health so this is your opportunity to introduce it into your daily life, with all the benefits that will bring.

We provide you with all the information and skills you need not only to be in cold water but to help with the stresses of everyday life by also focusing on mindfulness and breathing techniques.

Join us for a course of 4 fun sessions to help you develop confidence in open water and gain understanding of how to use cold water as part of a holistic health practice for self-care & exercise. (There will be an option for another 4 week follow-on course if you would like to continue the sessions).

What the Course Includes:

  • Learn how cold water can benefit mental & physical health
  • Be introduced to cold water dipping & swimming safely
  • Build confidence to swim in open water by learning the appropriate safety skills
  • Learn Mindfulness & breathing techniques to help reduce stress
  • Have the option to become part of a supportive community of open water swimmers to continue your cold water swimming journey

Duration : 4 weeks x 1.5hours

Introduction to Open Water Swimming

Are you curious to see why open water swimming is purportedly the fastest growing mass participation sport in the UK and second in participation numbers only to running? Are you feeling nervous about venturing into the open water? Are you just getting into open water swimming or Triathlon? We know it can be a bit daunting at first even for experienced pool swimmers, so we’ve designed this course to improve your confidence so you can go it alone either just for fun or to compete an upcoming race with peace of mind and ease. We’ll improve your swimming technique, help you manage any anxieties you may have and you’ll come away feeling inspired to jump in several times every week.

What the Course Includes:

  • Dry land introduction to open water and safety
  • Understanding open water environments – lakes, rivers and ocean
  • Choosing the right equipment – goggles, hat, wetsuit etc
  • Swimming in the open water for the first time
  • Entering the water – do’s and don’ts
  • Controlling breathing, proper exhalation and staying calm
  • Keeping your face in the water whilst retaining orientation
  • Managing anxieties and phobias – relax, relax, relax – plus coping strategies
  • Basic open water skills including buoy turns and sighting
  • Pacing to swim continuously

Duration : 1 hour

Front Crawl Improvers

Our improvers programme is offered as three separate courses, split down into three levels:

  • Introduction to front crawl – for anyone who does not usually swim front crawl or is new to front crawl
  • Intermediate – for anyone who has attended the introduction to front crawl course or who normally swims front crawl and would like to improve their technique
  • Advanced – for anyone who is already competent at front crawl and wishes to improve still further to a personal best or race standard

What the Course Includes:>

  • Bi-lateral breathing and exhalation
  • Rotation – how much is enough?
  • Individual arm recovery to suit your shoulder mobility
  • Proper hand entry
  • Good alignment and preventing hand cross-over
  • Catch mechanics and pulling through with more propulsion
  • How to achieve a streamlined horizontal body position
  • What an effective kick looks like for triathletes and swimmers
  • Distance front crawl swimming technique and swimming continuously

Duration : 1 hour

Open Water Swimming Skills

Anyone swimming in open water should be savvy with key open water skills which will support their open water swimming progression regardless of event specificity. There are a few tips and key skills that can make the difference between discomfort, floundering or panic and having an enjoyable experience. These include knowledge of the body’s reaction to cool water, how to enter the water safely and navigation. The majority of the skills are relevant to both recreational swimmers and those who want to compete in an event.

What the Course Includes:

  • Acclimatisation and overcoming panic and the gasp reflex
  • Pontoon and deep waterside entry
  • Sighting
  • Drafting
  • Treading water
  • Buoy Turns
  • Goggle adjustment whilst in deep water

Duration : 1 hour