Members of the Serpentine Swimming Club, one of the oldest swimming clubs in the country, will swim their traditional 100-yard (91-metre) Christmas Day race in the Serpentine.
The race takes place on the south bank of the lake, close to the Serpentine Café, at 9am. The water temperature is usually below 4C (40F) degrees in the winter, so swimmers must become acclimatised over a period of time. Swimmers have met in London’s Hyde Park on Christmas morning since 1864 to compete in the Christmas Day swim. The first Christmas Day swimming race was won by H. Coulter, who was given a gold medal which became the customary prize for the winner. Novelist J.M. Barrie donated the first Peter Pan Cup in 1904, the same year that his play Peter Pan made its debut on the London stage.
Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race. Photo: ©LondonTown.