Founders of open water swimwear brand Selkie Swim co, Jeremy Laming and Tom Kean, have partnered with The Henley Classic Swim event to further express their passion for open water swimming. Prior to the brand’s launch four years ago they focussed primarily on open water swimming events before branching out into products that support their core principle.

The Henley Classic Swim dates back to July 1896, making it one of the oldest open water swimming race in the world. Whilst open water swimming events have been held on the Thames since the 1890’s, in 2004, Jeremy Laming and Tom Kean thought swimming the regatta at first light by themselves would be rebellious fun. After the first year of them swimming alone, word got out amongst friends and family and by 2008 there was so much interest that it became what is it today; The Henley Classic Swim.

A decade later, Jeremy and Tom wanted to build a brand that best represented their love for open water swimming and their core adventurous principles and, with that, was created. Now, Laming and Kean are merging both of their creations, renaming the Henley Classic to the Selkie Henley Classic.  

The Selkie Henley Classic is a 2.1km endurance upstream river swimming challenge along one of the most beautiful stretches of the river. The event has attracted swimmers and newcomers to the sport, with many travelling across the globe to take part. Competitors follow a torch carrier down to the start where the race begins. Due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, each race is unique; the current could be strong, rain may fall and the river could be covered in mist.

The dead straight course is highlighted by a laser from the start, which points all the way down the course into Henley. Once the route has been completed, swimmers are helped out of the water, given a hot drink and their medal, and they can then walk back to the event area for breakfast and presentations.

Since 2010, The Inman and Ovey Challenge Trophies have been awarded to the fastest male and female swimmers of the Henley Classic Swim and the Selkie team are delighted to support this iconic open water swim. They aim to help grow the international event for the swimmers who travel far and wide to compete for the oldest open water trophies in the world. In the past it has been won by Olympians including Greg Whyte (who has won twice) and Karen Pickering.

Incorporated into the Selkie Henley Classic are the Varsity Open Water Swim, and the School’s Cup – both hotly contested. There is also an Oxford versus Cambridge Alumni match and a mob match.

The Selkie Henley Classic takes place on the 30th June at 4am and swimmers can sign up online to take part. For more information on merchandise available, you can visit the Selkie website here.

It is a unique experience that everyone should experience once. There is no other opportunity to swim the course at this time of day and is an event not to be missed.