serpentine christmas day swimming

Photo credit: Serpentine Swimming Club.

Photo credit: Serpentine Swimming Club.

Serpentine Christmas Day Swimming. Westminster. The Serpentine, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH.

On every Christmas morning since 1864 there has been a 100 yard swimming race at the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park. The first winner, H.Coulter, was awarded a gold medal, and this tradition has continued. The race normally starts at 9am, taking place on the south bank of the Serpentine, near the Serpentine Cafe. The water is typically below 40 degrees Farenheit. In order to acclimatise themselves to this temperature the swimmers need to rehearse over the period leading up to therace. 

In 1904 J.M.Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, donated the Peter Pan Cup to be awarded to each year's winner. It was the same year that his play Peter Pan opened on the London stage.

The event is organised by the Serpentine Swimming Club, which is one of the oldest swimming clubs in the world. It holds races on the Serpentine every Saturday, with the distance being dependent on the time of year. 

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