Henley brewer and pub operator Brakspear is supporting its home town's fourth annual Club to Pub Swim, returning on 22 July. With more than 450 swimmers already signed up for the 1.5 km evening swim in the Thames, organisers are expecting this year's event to be close to the maximum capacity of 700.
The Henley Club to Pub Swim was launched in 2014 and quickly became a popular fixture, as a sociable event that all levels of swimmer could enter, and an ideal introduction to open water swimming. Brakspear will again be brewing its commemorative beer, Two Bells, which will be given to all swimmers who complete the course, and hosting a party and barbecue for competitors and supporters at the Angel on the Bridge, the finish point for the swim.
Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: "We are delighted with the way the Club to Pub Swim has developed over the last three years, with a three-fold increase in the number of competitors and a growing reputation; last year, we welcomed swimmers from Edinburgh and Australia as well as many locals.
"A swim in the Thames, a refreshing locally-brewed beer and a barbecue at a riverside pub are some of the high points of summertime in Henley and, as a company with long-established roots in the town, we're happy to be making it possible for residents and visitors to enjoy them."
The Club to Pub Swim starts at Henley Rowing Club and finishes at the Angel on the Bridge, taking swimmers first up upstream to Marsh Lock and then down to the pub. The event starts on the 7 o' o'clock evening chime of St. Mary the Virgin church, with the aim of finishing it before the bells ring for 8 o'clock - hence the name of ‘Two Bells' for the beer brewed at Brakspear's Bell Street Brewery to mark the event.
Although the bottle of Two Bells is given only to swimmers, the beer will be available on draught from 3 July at a number of Brakspear pubs in and around Henley. For every pint sold, Brakspear is donating 10p to Sue Ryder, the charity partner to the Club to Pub Swim.
Entries are open now for the Club to Pub Swim in a number of categories at: http://henleyswim.com/events/club-to-pub/
image: Contestants in the Henley Club to Pub Swim 2016 enjoy a bottle of Brakspear's Two Bells beer after the race