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Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you're a first-timer or an experienced SwimTrekker, we know that you're likely to have a few questions for us. We've tried to answer some of the most common questions that we receive below, however, if there is anything you can't find here, please feel free to get in touch to have a chat with our team.

How far will I swim each day?

Daily swimming distances vary considerably from one trip to the next.

While the majority of our trips cover an average of 3-6km per day, usually split between one morning swim and one afternoon swim, we also have several Short Swims options and introductory trips with shorter daily swim distances. At the other end of the scale, we also have a number of Long Swims trips and Distance Training Camps which include daily swim distances of 7-8km.

Please use the filters on our Trip Search page to find the daily swim distance that is just right for you.

Will I be able to swim the distances in the trip itinerary?

While the daily swim distances may be more than you're used to swimming in a single session, there are a couple of reasons why you may surprise yourself with how far you can swim on your trip.

Firstly, while many people are used to doing all of their daily swimming in a single session, e.g. before work, during lunchtime or at the end of the day, by breaking up your daily distance into several shorter swims, often with one swim in the morning and another in the afternoon, most people find that they can cover significantly greater distance that what they expected.

Secondly, while going up and down a pool can quickly become monotonous and cause you to end your session early, swimming in the open water means that there's always something interesting to look at, both above and below the water. This often means that you cover much more distance without even realising!

Finally, the psychological effect of seeing your target destinations ahead of you, combined with the increased buoyancy that you'll experience in the open water, generally means that it's possible to swim greater distances in the open water than what you could manage in the pool.

It's also worth mentioning that every swimming group is accompanied by its own support vessel, so if you do need to take a break at any stage throughout your swim, you're more than welcome to jump on the boat for a rest.

How fast do I need to be able to swim?

We often have a wide range of swimming speeds on a particular departure, with our guests covering 1km in the open water in anything from 10-40 minutes. As a guide, guests should be able to swim a minimum of 1km in 40 minutes.

One of the great features of a SwimTrek trip is that we cater for this range of swimming speeds on each departure. At the start of your trip, your guides will carry out an acclimatisation swim with all guests, which will then be used to group together swimmers of a similar speed. Generally, there are 2-3 different speed groups per trip, however, this can vary depending on the makeup of the group on each particular departure.

By splitting swimmers into smaller speed groups, we are able to ensure that all guests are swimming at an appropriate pace. Each group is also accompanied by a support vessel at all times.

Which strokes do people swim?

Although the majority of our guests swim front crawl (freestyle), we often have a number of breast-strokers, as well. Having different swimming groups, means you can swim whatever stroke you want.

How should I prepare for my trip?

We've got you covered. You can download our comprehensive Training Plan for all the information that you'll need to get the most out of your holiday.

What will my fellow swimmers be like?

Swimming, by its nature is a low impact, medium intensity work out, enabling a cross-section of ages to come on our tours. They may be anything from teenagers to the retired, alone or with a friend, experienced open water swimmers or those unfamiliar to being outside the swimming pool. You can rest assured that the common love of swimming in the great outdoors, makes for a truly memorable trip.

Are there any non-swimming activities?

There are some great walks to and from the start/finish point of our swims, which are of an easy to moderate standard. Varied trips to local sights of interest combined with plenty of opportunities in the evening to go out in town and have a relaxing meal and drink with the group, make for an enjoyable time.

Do I have to swim all the crossings?

No. You always have the opportunity to catch a ride on the escort boat at any time. Have a cup of tea or some juice and jump back in, if or when you want.

How are we looked after on the swims?

You will be escorted on the crossings by a number of boats, which will provide safety cover and provide drinks and nutrition throughout the swim. The guides will also be on board to assist you in improving your technique. You can, of course, get on board one of the boats at any time.

How long has SwimTrek been running tours for?

SwimTrek was founded by Simon Murie in 2003 after he travelled to Canakkale, Turkey to follow in Byron's footsteps and swim from Asia to Europe. Organising this proved to be be quite difficult and Simon couldn't believe that there wasn't a company who ran holidays for swimming enthusiasts. As a result, he launched Swimtrek and in the summer of 2003. The first tour ran to the Greek Cyclades and the rest, as they say, is history!

What about marine life?

Encountering various marine life is one of the great joys of these trips. It's not simply head down and swim to the next island. From sea turtles in Greece, dolphins in Scotland, seals in the Scillies and porpoises in Turkey, the sea life will enchant you. Although generally absent from our trips, Jellyfish can theoretically be present in all of the locations that we go to. However, most of the jellyfish varieties that we are likely to encounter are of the non-stinging type.

Will I have a chance to improve my swimming technique?

There are a number of stroke technique differences between the pool and open water. Throughout the trip, we will continually work on improving your open water swimming stroke, through demonstrations and lessons where required.

How safe are your destinations?

We constantly monitor the latest Foreign Office travel advice for each destination we visit. If, a month prior to the trip, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advise against travel to that area of the country, we will not operate the trip concerned and provide you with either a full refund of all fees paid or we will come up with an alternative trip for the same dates. FCO Travel Advice

What do I need to bring with me on a trip?

For every tour, we have detailed Trip Notes which include the itinerary, travel information and a list of essential equipment. The Trip Notes can be downloaded fro the tour page on the website. The essential equipment does change from tour to tour but standard items include swimming goggles, aqua shoes (to get in and out of the water in) , a towel, a jumper, comfortable trainers or hiking boots and of course, your swimming gear!

How often do you cancel a trip?

As we travel in small groups, 95% of our trips operate - so you can be confident of going on the trip of your choice.

What is Open Water?

Any natural body of water, i.e. rivers, lakes, seas and oceans

Am I required to have insurance to join a trip?

On all non-UK trips, we do require guests to have full travel insurance that covers open water swimming and repatriation. The information on recommended insurers here. For UK trips, while we do recommend you take out travel insurance, it is not compulsory.

When is the final balance of my tour due?

The final balance is due 10 weeks before the tour departs and we will email everyone an invoice 12 weeks before.

How can I pay the final balance of my tour?

Full payment instructions will be on your invoice which you should receive around 12 weeks before your tour starts. If you would like to pay before this, you can do so online by going to the trip details page on your SwimTrek account.

Are there any age restrictions when swimming with SwimTrek?

SwimTrek welcomes all swimmers over the age of 16, however all those under 18 must be accompanied by a swimming adult.

Can I bring a non-swimming guest?

SwimTrek welcomes non-swimmers depending on the availability of accommodation, however they are unable to join us during the day for the group activities. For safety reasons non-swimmers are never permitted on the accompanying safety craft.