New Brass Monkey Challenge from Henley Swim

The team from Henley Swim have added the Brass Monkeys Challenge to their portfolio, a series of virtual cold water swimming challenges that can be achieved anywhere in the world, where the water temperature is below 14°C.

2020 has seen a huge uptake in open water swimming, with many open water venues choosing to remain open for the winter for the first time. The Brass Monkeys Challenge gives swimmers the incentive to keep going with their winter swimming, while offering advice and guidance to ensure that this extreme sport is carried out safely and sensibly.

Based on water temperature and distance, there are 5 Brass Monkey levels for the 2020/21 season: PLUCKY – BRAZEN – BOLD – DARING – INTREPID

Those that complete their challenges will receive up to 5 woven badges, downloadable progress charts and certificates, entry into the private Brass Monkeys Facebook group, and advice and guidance from Outdoor Swimmer Magazine.

The challenges can be personalised according to experience and preferences, for example there are no stipulations as to clothing – anything from a birthday suit to a full neoprene get-up is acceptable. There are a number of ways of reaching each level, and swimmers can decide if they wish to do them all, or just one. The Brass Monkeys
Challenge is for every type of swimmer from experienced to first time winter swimmer.

The swims can take place in any unheated water – the sea, the river, lakes or lidos, even tethered in a paddling pool. The only stipulation is that the water temperature must be under 14°C.

Jeremy Laming, co-founder of Henley Swim commented, “The closure of swimming pools in 2020, and rules surrounding social distancing has led to a huge increase in the number of people swimming outside. People are trying it out of necessity, and finding they love it. We are delighted to see this increase in open water swimming, but we are most passionate about ensuring that people are safe. This is an extreme sport and should be carried out with safety at the forefront at all times.

Brass Monkeys Challenge allows us to give people an incentive to try open water swimming, and to be able to impart safety information and reminders to the swimmers. In association with our media partner Outdoor Swimmer magazine, we are able to give swimmers help and advice to allow them to recognise the dangers and act accordingly, while enjoying this invigorating sport”.

Swimmers need to confirm that they have read the Safety Advice before registering for the challenge, this includes advice particularly relating to Cold Water Shock, Hypothermia and the After-Drop. The key advice is never to swim alone, start with short swims and build up, and most importantly always come out of the water feeling as if you could have stayed in longer.

Swimmers have until the end of April to complete their challenges. For more information and to enter go to


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