Five beginner-friendly triathlon swims in the UK

We take a look at some of the best domestic races for building up confidence in the water

Triathletes entering a lake

Are you looking to enter your first triathlon but worried about the swim part?

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Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The swim strikes fear into many tri newcomers, but there are ways to overcome them. One of the best ways is to pick a course that’ll work for you.

Here, we round up five of the best beginner-friendly swims in the UK, all of which will help build up confidence and help you progress to the more challenging ones.

Blenheim Palace Triathlon

Where: Blenheim, Oxfordshire
Format: Various distances

The amazing setting and beginner-friendly lake swim combine with two distances – super sprint (400m swim) and sprint (750m) – for a truly memorable first triathlon. Plus, it’s well staffed and the buzz from the crowds of spectators is infectious.

London Triathlon

Where: London
Format: Various distances

Widely known to be one of the most beginner-friendly triathlons in the country, the London Triathlon is a good option if you’re fearful of the swim.

The London Royal Docks’ water is well-protected so is usually calm, while there are always plenty of people to help you out if you need assistance.

Plus, you can choose from a range of distances, from a 400m swim in the supersprint all the way up to a 1,500m swim in the Olympic race.

Dorney Lake Triathlon

Where: Dorney Lake, Windsor
Format: Various distances

Dorney Lake has played home to many triathlons over the years, and there’s good reason for that. The swim takes place in a 2,200m flat-water rowing lake that’s been used for countless international regattas and even hosted the London 2012 rowing events.

It makes for a sheltered environment for a novice, and is backed up by a flat bike and run course that adds to the beginner appeal. With a sprint and Olympic distance on offer, that means you’ll be looking at either a 750m or 1,500m swim.

Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire

Where: Stafford
Format: 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run

If your sights are firmly set on a middle-distance course, Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire offers a reasonable choice for a beginner-friendly swim.

The swim takes place in Chasewater Reservoir and is formatted with just one lap and, given it’s a reservoir swim, isn’t prone to the rough waters you sometimes get in sea swims.

While the June event date is no guarantee of good weather, temperatures should at least be mild.

Castle Howard

Where: Yorkshire
Format: Various distances

A lake swim with calm, warm-ish July waters (for a lake in Yorkshire!), set in a stunning setting – it can’t get much better for beginners. There are a variety of distances available from the supersprint (400m swim) to the 1.9km middle-distance swim. Just make sure you book early, as the event does sell out quickly.

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Are you looking to enter your first triathlon this year? Check out our Beginners section!