Annual Swim

The Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim (WOWES) is a 2k wild swim from Ferryside to Llansteffan and back. This year however, we've introduced a course change due to local tides. WOWES 2019 will this year be a 3km swim, the swim course taking you from Ferryside and heading towards Llangain, then turnina and heading back, landing ashore on Ferryside beach. The swim will start at 2.15 pm on the 27th July 2019 from the Foreshore, Ferryside.

WOWES is a non-profit swim, raising money for charities and local good causes.

The event is quite unique in the UK in being one of the only wild swimming courses to take place in an estuary. This creates a particular challenge to participants in dealing with tidal flows and currents. As a result it attracts swimmers from the UK and across the world, keen to swim the estuary conditions.

Big Swim

The Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim was established in 2010 and was formerly known as the Ferryside lifeboat 'Big Swim', it began when the swim organiser (who is now a retired former coxswain of the Ferryside Lifeboat) decided he, because of his love of open water swimming and all things water based, wanted to swim the estuary in order to raise much needed funds for the local inshore lifeboat.

Whilst trying to raise sponsorship money for the swim, he was approached by 10 other open water swimmers who also wished to challenge themselves by completing an estuary swim. One thing led to another and the Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim was born. Since the WOWES conception, we have enjoyed introducing and empowering people to the wonderful nature of the open water and wild swimming experience.

Focus on safety

We are able to offer this unique swimming experience as a result of meticulous planning and with the added provisions of a range of trained safety and support crews: these include support divers, safety kayaks, support vessels and of course the Ferryside inshore lifeboat and her crew.

As a result of this attention to detail and local knowledge and expertise of the waters, the WOWES swim can boast to a 100% swimmer and support crew safety record.

Open water swimming is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the country, the challenging nature of the sport limits the number of events held in the UK.

WOWES is not a timed event however, you are welcome to time yourself.

The swim starts in two stages: firstly the club swimmer category for the seasoned triathlete's and club swimmers alike, shortly afterwards the leisure swimmer category set off, for those wishing to take a little more time. You may choose on the application form which category you wish to enter. This may however be changed at your request.

On completion of the swim course, each swimmer is presented their unique and hand crafted medal at a medal presentation in River Towy Yacht Club, Ferryside.

These medals are made by a local artist and each year a different style of medal is presented to the swimmer.

It's not just for swimmers

We welcome all visitors, supporters and spectators to join us for the Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim at the Foreshore Ferryside.

The spectacular sandy beaches and stunning surroundings make for a wonderful day out for all the family. There are full facilities available in the village including: Pubs, restaurants, hotel and spa, B&B’s, camping, etc for those who wish to enjoy the full range of what Ferryside has to offer.