Frequently Asked Questions
The Two-Way Windermere (2WW) is a 21 mile swim in fresh water usually held in August on a weekend near the full moon. It’s overnight and starts at Waterhead near Ambleside, the swimmers then swim a length of Windermere go round a buoy at Fell Foot and then swim back to Waterhead. The 2WW takes place every other year alternating with Loch Lomond. 70% of all swimmers who have completed 2WW since 1990 went on to complete the English Channel.
1. What do I need to do to qualify? You need to be a member of the BLDSA and have completed a swim of 6 hours in traditional channel swimming costume in 16 degree (or below) open water within the 30 months prior to the event. A 6 hour (and above) 1 way length of Windermere for example would qualify. Ideally the swim organisers want to ensure that all swimmers are familiar with coping without the aid of buoyancy of salt water so would prefer this to be undertaken in a lake however we understand the constraints of this on some participants who can’t get this done. This swim is considered to be at least as tough as the Channel (thought of as harder by some!) & we want you to finish the swim not the swim to finish you off – this is precisely why the key entry requirement is broadly similar.
2. Do I need a crew? Yes. Open water swimming is a team sport and this event requires that you put together a crew of at least 2 oarsman who can row by the swimmers side, guide and feed for the duration of the event. The crew is the responsibility of the swimmer. Kayakers accompanying the swimmer are now being allowed as the rowing boats have been removed from the lake in 2022 due to surcumstances beyond our control. You will need 2 kayakers unless you can find a very competant kayaker who is capable of being on the water for 21 miles, day and overnight. Kayaks must be lit over night and be visable to other lake users at all time.
3. Do I need to practise swimming in the dark? The organisers expect that you will have practised swimming (and getting rescued) in the dark as this championship is overnight and swimmers will most likely start at either 5.30pm or 7:30pm. You don’t want to have trained all season for you to get disorientated with the onset of darkness. The event is usually held near a full moon but don’t count on it coming out! You will need to purchase LED lights that are available from the BLDSA shop to make sure the swimmer and boat are visible to lake users. A flag alpha will also need to be flown.
4. Will my crew be required to navigate and feed me? Yes, absolutely. It is thought that your chance of success will be down to 50% of the importance of the crew you choose.
5. Is there safety cover? Two BLDSA safety boats will be present during the entire swim.
6. Is there a time cut-off? It is recommended that swimmers should be able to swim a mile consistently in under 35-40 minutes, this is a marathon not a sprint. It’s not ideal to be in the water for 20 hours plus! The official cut-off for the time- limit is sunset on the evening the day after the start of the swim but we would not expect any entrants to use this much time in reality.
7. Can I wear a wetsuit? No, this swim is strictly traditional channel costume only.
8. How cold will it be? Temperatures can vary greatly at that time of year depending on rainfall, amount of sunshine etc. Some swims have taken place in 14 degrees (and under) with some much higher. Remember there is no sun to warm your back in the middle of the night! Don’t kid yourself that by training in 20 degree water is going to prepare you for this challenge.
Entries open from beginning of the year. Further questions contact the Swim Secretary or use the contact system on the website.