Scottish Winter Swimming Championships

6th March 2021 -  Taymouth Marina, Kenmore, Aberfeldy, PH15 2HW


The 2021 Scottish Winter Swimming Championships will be held at Taymouth Marina on 6th March.

Of course, at this stage, it is impossible to know what the virus situation will be like in early 2021, but it has been important to get a date in the diary and hopefully we will have something to look forward to!

We hope to open entries in late 2020 as by then we should have a better idea of whether or not the competition can go ahead, and what form it will have to take. Please do not book accommodation and travel before we have made an announcement and please keep an eye out for updates closer to the time.

This is an International Winter Swimming Association (IWSA) event and will include short individual races, team relays and a tough endurance challenge. You may enter single or multiple races - or get a group of friends, family or colleagues together and enter a relay team. Please remember the water will be cold (around 1 - 5ºC) and you must acclimatise to cold water before swimming in these races. 

Individual Races - All races will be run under IWSA rules 

There are three different stroke choices for individuals – freestyle, head up breaststroke and ice fly. Races of each stoke will be 50m or two widths of the marina. There will also be longer freestyle races of 150m and 450m for those looking for an endurance challenge.


As the name suggests, in the freestyle race you can use any stroke you like in order to propel yourself across a width of the marina as quickly as possible. Front crawl is the stroke of choice for most people, but you can in fact swim any stroke you like.

Head up breaststroke

Head up breaststroke is the traditional cold water swimming style. As the head is above the water at all times it allows swimmers to compete in ice-cold conditions without getting brain freeze.

The rules are simple – you must ensure that your eyes do not go below the water level at any time during the race. The event is a great leveller and makes for very competitive races.

Swimmers are encouraged to wear a warm hat for this race, or get crafty and create their own headwear – the more outlandish the better. The winner of the best hat of the competition will be crowned at the grand prize-giving ceremony for the Best Hat of the Day.

Ice fly

A race using butterfly stroke – simultaneous arm pulls with a dolphin kick. The finish is with two hands at or above water level.

Endurance race

This will be a tough 450m (18 widths of the marina) race for experienced cold water swimmers only. In order to compete in this race, you will need to prove that you have swum 200m in 5 degrees or less in the 2019/20 winter season as per the IWSA Rules. You will need to bring your qualifying swim form with you on the day, signed by you and your witness, or you will not be able to compete in this event. 

Relay races

Mixed team relay (IWSA Rules) - Teams in the 4x50m freestyle relays consist of four competitors who each swim 50m (two widths of the marina). Teams must be mixed (at least one man and one woman) and can represent their country, town, club or simply be a group of friends or family. The person entering the team will be the team captain. Relay team are invited to come up with a unique team name and are welcome to dress up accordingly!

‘Anything Goes’ relay (Not run under IWSA Rules) - Open category relay. Teams in the 4x50m freestyle relays consist of four competitors who each swim 50m (two widths of the marina). Any combination of team accepted. All female/all male teams should enter this category. Neoprene socks/gloves/accessories allowed. Fancy dress encouraged.

IWSA Rules 

In the head-up breaststroke race you must ensure that your eyes do not go below the water level at any time during the race. Infringement of this rule will incur a 5 second penalty.

False starts will not be recalled but will incur a 5 second penalty.

Relay teams must consist of four people and must be mixed (at least one man and one woman).

Nobody may swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

No performance enhancing drugs can be used by competitors, nor internal or external substances that preserve or increase body heat.

Swimsuits must be appropriate and non-transparent. Swimsuits may not go beyond the top of the knee or past the shoulder (i.e. they must not have legs or sleeves) and cannot provide the swimmer with thermal protection or buoyancy. No neoprene socks or gloves. NO WETSUITS.

Swimmers may not use any device or material, which is designed to improve performance. This includes, without limitation, hand-paddles, snorkels, fins or floatation devices.

Swimmers must wear something on their head; either a swimming cap or a woollen hat or other warm hat. Decorated hats are encouraged!

The organiser’s decision on whether or not a swimmer is attired appropriately will be final.

All swimmers start in the water. Diving into the water is not permitted.

The age groups

All individual races will be divided into age categories. The age groups are determined by your age on 31 December 2020.

The age groups are as follows:

Participants in all events must be 18 years or over on the day of the competition.

Location - Taymouth Marina, Kenmore, Aberfeldy PH15 2HW

Taymouth Marina will be the venue for the Scottish Winter Swimming Championships. Races will be held within the easily accessible marina area. There is also a fabulous sauna meters away that can seat up to 40 people. Perfect for warming up after braving the icy waters of Loch Tay! Accommodation is available on site and a 10% discount is available for swimmers. - Quote 'WinterSwim2020'

Important Documents 

Event Terms and Conditions

Endurance Swim Qualifier Form

Essential Safety Information

2020 EVENT RESULTS - 7th March 2020

450m Endurance Results (overall)

450m Endurance Results (by category)

50m Heads-up Breaststroke Results (overall)

50m Heads-up Breaststroke Results (by category)

50m Freestyle Results (overall)

50m Freestyle Results (by category)

50m Ice Fly Results (overall)

50m Ice Fly Results (by category)

150m Freestyle Results (overall)

150m Freestyle Results (by category)

Mixed Freestyle Relay Results

Anything Goes Relay Results

2019 EVENT RESULTS (by category) - 9th MARCH 2019  

450m Endurance Results 

50m Head-up Breaststroke Results 

50m Freestyle Results 

50m Ice Fly Results 

150m Freestyle Results 

Mixed Freestyle Relay Results 

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