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Great East Swim

Set in the beautiful Alton Water reservoir, this peaceful part of the world is enjoyed all year round by walkers, cyclists and wildlife spotters. Enjoy the unspoilt outdoors and discover award winning beaches as well as a group of swimmers raring to dive into their open water challenge.

Please note that your safety in the open water is our number one priority. All of our swimming events have expert kayakers overseeing your progress with safety boats ready for the unlikely event of an emergency.

If you, or anyone you know, might like the chance to volunteer at this event then just visit Sport and Event Volunteering for more information.

The Course

The Great East Swim course map is shown below including 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile and 5K distances.

NEW FOR 2016 - 10K SWIM

The 10k marathon swim is suitable for regular swimmers who are capable of taking on longer distances.
The entry age is 18+ and anyone who enters must be able to swim 10k unaided, within 4 hours. This swim will be 6 laps of the standard 1 mile course.

Course Map
The Start
The Finish

Event location

The Great East Swim takes place at the picturesque Alton Water reservoir near Ipswich, Suffolk. The reservoir provides the main source of drinking water for Ipswich and the southern part of Suffolk.

Alton Water offers the opportunity to do far more than swim – it’s the perfect location for walks, cycle rides, wildlife spotting and family picnics. With miles of unspoilt countryside, numerous award winning beaches and scores of enchanting towns and villages within reach of Alton Water, Suffolk makes an ideal choice for a short break. Only an hour’s train journey away from London Liverpool Street station. For more information, take a look at:

About Suffolk

The Great East Swim is staged at Alton Water Sports Centre near Ipswich. Suffolk IP9 2RY. How to get there:

By car:

The Great East Swim can be reached by following the postcode IP9 2RY.

There will be plenty of car parking available at Alton Water so there is no need to park along the roads.  Due to narrow stretches of road around the event venue please can we ask that you drive carefully through the lanes and the village of Stutton.  

If you intend to drive to the Great East Swim have you considered car sharing?

By train:

London Liverpool Street station is approximately a 60 minute train ride away, with direct trains running every half an hour to Manningtree-the nearest station to Alton Water. From here you can get a taxi to take you to the event site.If arriving at Ipswich main line station you will need to get a connecting train to Manningtree. Trains run every 30 minutes between Ipswich and Manningtree. From here you can get a taxi to take you to Alton Water.

By bike:

There are cycle routes to Alton Water. A bike park will be available and it will be staffed but we recommend that you bring a suitable bike lock and that you do not leave any valuables with your bike.



For all the information you need to ensure you have a Great Swim and a great stay in Suffolk, take a look at Visit Suffolk and All About Ipswich. For local information in Ipswich call 01473-258070.



It’s important to be aware of the Great East Swim 2016 event timetable prior to the big day. Familiarise yourself with the information below and ensure you leave plenty of time to drop off any baggage, travel to the start line and get warmed up. You must check-in 30 minutes before your start time. If you miss it we may not be able to move you to another wave, so please don't be late.

Please see below for the 2016 event day timetable:

Time Swim Hat Colour  
Saturday 18 June 2016 
08:00 Red 5k Swim
08:05 Green 10k Swim
10:00 Pink 2 Mile Swim
11:00 Yellow 1 Mile Swim
11:30 Orange 1 Mile Swim
12:00 White 1 Mile Swim
12:30 Red 1 Mile Swim 
12:50 Green 250m Kids Wave 
13:30 Pink 1/2 Mile Swim
14:00 Yellow 1 Mile Swim
14:30 Orange 1 Mile Swim 
15:00 White 1 Mile Swim

*NB. All times are subject to change in the lead up to the event

Saturday 18 June 2016

How to enter

1/2 Mile

£28 per entry (inc VAT of £4.67)


1 Mile

£34 per entry (inc VAT of £5.67)


2 Miles

£38 per entry (inc VAT of £6.34)



£40 per entry (inc VAT of £6.67)



£65 per entry (inc VAT of £10.83)