Check out our new site at

Slow Swimming

From Openwaterpedia
Slow Swimming concept co-founders in 2013
Slow Swimming by Stuart Hamilton was nominated for the 2019 WOWSA Awards in the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year category

noun - Slow Swimming is an outdoor social swimming concept held along rivers where individuals swim - slowly - and picnic for the pure pleasure of experiencing the nature and the open body of water. Co-founded by Stuart Hamilton and five friends in 2013, Slow Swimming has expanded to 3 events with 2,000 swimmers and 4,000 supporters and picnickers.

Slow Swimming has no timing chips, no results sheets, and no maximum cut-off times where swimmers are encouraged to take their time, with a special mention for the slowest swimmer (“They must have enjoyed the swim the most”).

Slow Swimming is a very social event with most participants swimming breaststroke so as to be able to experience the countryside that they are literally immersed in, and allowing them to chat at the same time with 70% of its swimmers female of the average age of 45.

Slow Swim Picnic Events

The ideal Slow Swimming event takes place in idyllic surroundings, doesn’t start too early in the morning. 10 O’clock is early enough for anyone to be doing some exercise, encourages swimmers to take their time and enjoy the experience, has a reasonable amount of cake involved at some stage, and ends with a picnic for friends and family.


The idea of a Slow Swim and picnic started on the River Stour in Dedham on the Suffolk-Essex border in the UK in 2013.

2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination

Stuart Hamilton’s Slow Swimming was nominated for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year award as follows:

Titles, medals, cash, awards, prizes, psyche sheets, timing chips, results, maximum cut-off times are par for the course with open water swimming competitions. But Stuart Hamilton boiled down open water swimming to its essence: enabling swimmers of all abilities and ages to experience the pure pleasure of Mother Nature and swimming in the open bodies of water. Then he added a very social picnic and cake sharing element to the event and the Slow Swimming concept took off. With 70% of its participants women with an average age of 45, Slow Swimming events in Bradford-on-Avon, Cambridge and Dedham Vale attract thousands of happy, fully satisfied, fully satiated swimmers and their supporters. For empowering and enabling people of all ages and abilities to fully immerse themselves enjoyable and without stress in meandering rivers, for creating an ambiance of highly social and interactive outdoor swimming among like-minded people, and for promoting an enjoyable means of healthful exercise with the added bonus of sharing cakes and having a picnic among thousands, Slow Swimming by Stuart Hamilton is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.


2019 Slow Swimming Events

The events that make up the Strawberry Cheesecake Tour 2020 include:

2020 Slow Swimming Events

Cake Sharing

In the early days, with only a few swimmers and supporters, they were encouraged to bring cake to share. This has now grown into one of the most popular parts of the picnics: the cake sharing table. Swimmers and supporters are encouraged to bake extra and share it amongst other picnickers. The social media pages are now used as much for swopping family recipes as for swimming-related chat.


social swimming, Slow Swimming Picnic


Stuart Hamilton at

2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination

The Slow Swimming concept was nominated for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association:

External links