FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

The Event:

When is the event?

- Marathon Swims; London is Saturday 07 and Sunday 8 November 2020.  Many participants on Saturday 7 Nov are swimming for our charity partners Level Water.

When is the closing date for entries?

- Marathon Swims is allocating places on a first come, first served basis.  We recommend you enter as soon as possible to secure your place in the event. Marathon Swims sold out in 2017, 2018 and 2019. We expect the 2020 event to sell out in record time.

What are the distances involved in Marathon Swims?

- A Marathon Swim is 10k.  We also have a Half Marathon Swim (5k) and a 1k Challenge Swim are available for individual swimmers.  You can also compete as a team of two in the 10k Team Marathon Swim

How big is the London Aquatics Centre pool?

- The main competition pool is 50m.  It has the ability to split into smaller pools with its movable bulk heads but for the Marathon Swims event the pool will be 50m and 3m deep throughout. 

How many lengths of the pool will I need to swim?

- If you’ve entered the Marathon Swim 10k event – you will swim 200 lengths of a 50m pool. The Half Marathon Swim (5k) is 100 lengths and the Challenge Swim (1k) is 20 lengths.  If you are a Team (of 2) you will complete 10k between you in 1k sections.  As a team, it is up to you how you split the 1k's up (eg alternate every kilometre, 5k/5k or split the distance unequally (7k/3k). 

Where can I take part in Marathon Swims?

- Marathon Swims events take place in the biggest and best swimming arenas in the UK.  We hope to expand the number of events we deliver in the UK.  The London event is held at the venue of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the London Aquatic Centre, on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Which strokes are permitted?

- Front crawl and breaststroke are the only strokes permitted. Butterfly and backstroke are not permitted.

How are swimmers of different speeds catered for?

- The start waves are decided based on swim speed. The slower swimmers are given earlier start times, faster swimmers later start times. This is to ensure a good event experience for all and to avoid too much overtaking/being overtaken. The faster swimmers starting later (on Sunday) means that the podium positions can be awarded directly to the fastest swimmers.


When will I know my start time?

Start times will be announced around 1 October 2020. The waves you are allocated will depend on your estimated completion time that you stated in registration.  Participants can buy the Wave Selection in additional purchases which enables you to select the broad start time of your swim. However, these are limited in number and only should be used by our participants who are travelling long distances.


Can I change the details on my entry?

- Yes, the final date for any changes (and additional purchases) to your entry is midnight 30 September 2020.  No changes in challenge or person will be possible after this date.

Can I change my start time?

No, unfortunately not. The start times for Marathon Swims are arranged based on your estimated completion time (entered at time of registration). It is important, for the enjoyment of all, to ensure that swimmers of similar speeds are placed in the same wave, as we know it can be frustrating if participants are continually overtaken or need to overtake.


The start times of waves are set to enable a consistent flow of participants throughout the event. Start times on both event days vary between 8.30am and 6pm. The faster swimmers have later starts.

Please email us if you have any other questions about the event and we’ll update this section accordingly


© 2020 Marathon Swims


Operated by Participation Sport Ltd.