Don’t let the distance scare you from diving In at the Deep End

Swimmers get ready to swim in the Dorney Lake wearing wetsuits
  • 08:00 - 17:00
  • Dorney Lake, Eton
  • September 27, 2020

Don’t let the distance scare you from diving In at the Deep End

In September 2020 we’re running our first ever Dream Swim Challenge at the Eton Dorney Lake.

Many of you may feel wary to try a different kind of challenge. But whether or not you’ve swum in open water before, there is no reason to feel daunted about diving In at the Deep End with us.

Our aim is to give Regainers the platform, motivation and opportunity to achieve something you always wanted to do, but never thought you could, while making a big impact for our charity. With four distances to choose from, In at the Deep End is the perfect chance to smash your fitness goals, while helping to improve the lives of tetraplegics across the UK. Both Regain and Dream Challenges are here to support you every step of the way.

This blog post gives you all the info you need to prepare for the challenge, including key need-to-knows, training tips, open water swimming advice and your free training plans, designed exclusively for In at the Deep End.

Training for your open water swim

Swimmers get ready to swim in the Dorney Lake wearing wetsuitsIn a nutshell, you need to train like a champion and look like a fish. Training with your goal and prize in mind, preferably in open water, will help you achieve the ease and grace of a fish on the big day.

Open Water is different – We strongly recommend you train in open water as much as you can, as open water swimming is different from in a pool. The water at Eton Dorney will be cooler and murkier than a pool’s and you won’t have the wall of a pool to kick off from, like you do when swimming lengths.

Please see and download Dream Challenges’ Open Water Swim Advice sheet here to help you prepare to swim at Eton Dorney.

Mark Foster, GB Olympic Swimmer, who will support tetraplegic participants

PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM – Swimming – World Short Course Swimming Championships 2008 – Day Four, Finals – Manchester, England – 12/04/08…Copyright – Simon Wilkinson – 07811267706..Great Britain’s Mark Foster competes in the Men’s 100m Freestyle Final.

Benefits of swimming

Swimming is an awesome sport and we’re so excited to have a Dream Challenge dedicated to it. As a low impact form of cardio, it works every muscle in your body without the shock of feet against ground. It burns up calories, lifts your mood, lowers your stress levels and helps you sleep.

As In at the Deep End gives you four distances to choose from, each with its own training plan, people of all abilities, ages, shapes and sizes can get involved.

Aren’t inspired yet? Watch this eye-opening TED talk on what open water swimming can teach you about life.

Achievable training plan for each distance

In at the Deep End 2020 5km swim training plan screen shot

Dream Challenges have put together three brilliant training plans: one for each standard distance. These training plans are especially designed for beginner participants taking on In at the Deep End and build up week by week.

This way you can ease into your preparation and as long as you follow the one for your chosen distance, you’ll be well ready and buoyed up by the time the challenge comes around.

Please click your chosen distance below to see and download your training plan:

1km Tetraplegic Training Plan
2.2km Training Plan
5km Training Plan
10km Training Plan

Which distance should i choose?

man swims in a lane in a swimming poolIt’s up to you which distance you choose to take on; but the 1km distance is for tetraplegic participants only. You know your own body and what you are capable of.

Whichever distance you choose, you do need to be a confident swimmer and you must be able to swim your chosen distance by the challenge date. However, it is by no means a race and you can swim at your own pace.

These distance break-downs might help to envision how long each would be and what to aim for in your training:

2.2km – this is the equivalent of swimming 88 lengths in a standard 25m swimming pool. It should take around one hour/one hour 30 mins to complete.
See and download the 2.2km Swim Training Plan here

5km – this is the equivalent of swimming 200 lengths in a standard 25m swimming pool. It should take around two hours to complete. See and download the 5km Swim Training Plan here

10km – this is the equivalent of swimming 400 lengths in a standard 25m swimming pool. It should take around four hours to complete. See and download the 10km Swim Training Plan here

We recommend checking out the training plans if you’re unsure which distance to register for.

Dressing for the occasion

group of open water swimmers in swim hats and wetsuits run into a lakeYou must wear a well-fitting wetsuit for In at the Deep End 2020. This will help keep you warm and also make you more streamlined in the water.

Obviously, swimming feels different when wearing a wetsuit, rather than just trunks or a swimming costume/ bikini, so we recommend you wear one during your training as well.

Wetsuit hire – If you don’t own a wetsuit, you can hire one throughout the season.

The Zone 3 T’s and C’s page gives all the details you need about hiring a wetsuit, once they’re available in April. In the meantime, you can train in a pool and cross-train to build up your strength, fitness and technique, before donning a wetsuit and practicing in open water.

Get the right fit – When looking for a wetsuit to wear, please make sure it fits well. Too loose and it will fill up with water, too tight and it’ll restrict your breathing.

The arms should fit well above the wrist, with a few ruckles under the armpit to allow the shoulder to move freely and the neck should be low enough to limit neck rub.

Check out Zone 3 wetsuits here for wetsuit recommendations and hire.

Plug up – We also recommend wearing ear plugs to keep water from getting into your ears and irritating your skin. You’ll still be able to hear everything and you’ll prevent yourself from getting blocked ears. If you don’t have any ear plugs, SwimEars are a good one to go for.

How we support you

Still feeling nervous? Please be assured, you’ll have full challenge support from the moment you register, right until after you’ve conquered the swim.

In at the Deep End is organised by the fantastic specialist events company, Dream Challenges, who we’ve been working with for years and who are renowned for the brilliant support they give on their challenges, from the moment you sign up until the weeks after the event.


In the swim up to the challenge

Dream Challenges will send you several resources to help you prepare for the event, as soon as you book your place:

  • Training plan for your chosen distance

You can also download your training plan and open water swimming advice sheet from the event page and this blog post, even before you commit to the challenge.

  • Regular email updates

Your monthly emails from Dream Challenges will keep you up to date with all the exciting information, key need-to-knows, fundraising ideas for every season of the year and resources you may need as you prepare for the challenge.

  • Facebook group for all participants

This way, you can exchange tips and updates with each other and make friends before you swim. You may even want to arrange to meet up with fellow swimmers who live in your local area, so that you can train and fundraise together.

  • Office support

The fab Dream Challenges team are on hand to help out every step of the way, with any enquiries you may have, from 9 – 5 Monday to Friday. Simply email them at or call them on 01590 646410.

Our team at Regain is of course more than happy to help you if you have any questions or if you are tetraplegic and would like to join the swim. Just email

On the big day

  • Group of people swimming with swim caps on in Dorney Lake in Eton, with marshalls watching over them.Medical, health and safety support

It goes without saying that we’ll have full medical and challenge support at Eton Dorney Lake, including a team of professional first aiders, fully trained life guards in kayaks and at the banks of the lake and swimming specialists.

  • Equipment

The Dream Challenges team will provide you with a swimming hat, swimmer number and timing tag, along with a floatation device for our 5km and 10km participants. This way, we can keep track of you throughout your swim and ensure your safety.

  • Four marked courses on the lake

There will be four distances for you to choose from, so that we can welcome swimmers from all currents of life and abilities to be a part of the event. The start waves for each distance will take off from different places on the bank of the lake and each course will be clearly marked with buoys.

  • Tetraplegic support
Mark Foster

GB Olympic Swimmer, Mark Foster will be supporting the tetraplegic 1km course.

Tetraplegic people are more than welcome to take on the challenge. There’ll be  a specially designed 1km course for tetraplegic participants, supported by the celebrity swimmer, Mark Foster.

  • Feedstations

You don’t need to swim the whole distance in o

ne go! You can take water breaks throughout your swim at the Feedstations by

the side of the lake.

  • Post-challenge meal

Once you’ve completed your chosen distance and collected your medal, the Dream Team will have a hot meal ready for you to tuck into. No doubt you’ll have built up an appetite!

  • Warm-up

It’s essential to warm up your body before diving in and starting the swim. We’ll have the most fun warm-up you’ve ever experienced at Eton Dorney, around half an hour before the first start wave sets off.

  • Facilities

There’ll be showers, toilet facilities and a changing room for you to change in/out of your swimming gear. There’ll also be an Information Point, Event Registration and a supervised Bag Drop, where you can leave your stuff while you’re swimming.

  • Entertainment and encouragement

With your friends and family, Swim Makers (aka volunteers), our Regain representatives and the Dream Challenges team all there at Eton Dorney to cheer you on, spirits will be high from start to end. There’ll also be pre-challenge motivational speeches, music and stalls at the venue, so the atmosphere will be electric!

Group of tetraplegics celebrate in Kenya with handcycles

Our cause

The best part of In at the Deep End 2020 is, of course, that it’s all for Regain. We’re the only charitable organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people who have become tetraplegic in a sporting accident.

One minute these individuals are fit, active and healthy; the next they are paralysed and in need of support for the rest of their lives. We help these people regain their independence and get back into sport after their accident.

Because Regain is a small charity with a very specific cause, your funds will go a long way into helping us carry out our work. Find out more about our work here.

We hope this blog post has helped you to feel less nervous about taking the plunge. Please remember that the challenge is designed for swimmers of all abilities and we are here to support you every stroke of the way!

Learn more and register for In at the Deep End 2020 here