Frequently Asked Questions


Where do the events take place?

Swim for a Mile Events take place Nationwide. Keep an eye on the Pool List section of the website for a participating pool near you.

What time will the events take place?

The time of the events will vary at each pool, each evening and will be broken into 1 hour time slots. You will select your timeslot upon booking an event.

What age do I have to be to enter the Swim a Mile Challenge?

The Swim a Mile Challenge is open to those aged 12 years and over only. However, if your child is a capable club swimmer and would like to swim the challenge with you or a guardian, we are happy to welcome them, but please email us to let us know if this is the case.

Is the event for competitive swimmers only?

The event is for anyone who can swim at least 2 lengths of a 25m pool during a session. The event is not for beginners who require lessons.

What will I gain from completing the challenge?

Participants will have gained the skill and ability to use the activity as part of a balanced lifestyle and to complete personal goals like swimming a mile.

The Swim

How far is the Swimming Mile?

A mile calculated in metres is 1,609m. Our “Swim for a Mile Challenge” will be 1,600 metres. Alternatively, we offer an 800m programme if the Mile is that bit too far for you.

How many lengths of the pool are there in a mile?

Depending on the pool length:

50m Pool – 32 lengths
25m pool – 64 lengths

How will I know how long I have left to swim?

Volunteers will be on hand at events to count your laps and keep you updated, they will also cheer you on throughout your swim!

Can I do it as a relay with others?

Unfortunately, we do not have capacity for relays but we introduced the 800m option so those not ready for the mile can grab a friend or family member and complete the mile between you.

Can I stop and restart by taking breaks?

Yes, you will be allowed to stop and take breaks throughout the 1,600 metres but at the wall only. Swimmers will not be permitted to stop mid pool or along the ropes. The clock will continue to run during any breaks.

Will Lane Etiquette be in place

Yes; Lane Etiquette is outlined in the downloadable programme and participants should be familiar with it throughout the programme and in the events. Volunteers will also keep participants right throughout the event.

How long will it take me to complete

Depending on fitness and ability it could take anywhere from 25mins to 1 hour to complete the mile.

Is there a time limit?

There is no time limit; you can take as little time or as long as you want. You will be asked when booking to enter a guestimate of your completion time. This will allow us to place you in a lane with others swimming at a similar pace to you.

Do I have to swim Frontcrawl throughout?

You can vary your stroke between frontcrawl and breaststroke throughout the mile, at the start of each length. For health and safety reasons, backstroke or butterfly are NOT allowed.

Can I use fins or other buoyancy aids?

The use of buoyancy aids is not allowed during events unless you are a person with disabilities that requires the use of a buoyancy aid.

How will the lanes be split at the events?

The lanes will be split into fast, medium and slow paced so you are in a lane with others swimming at the same pace as you. You will be asked when booking to enter a guestimate of your completion time. This will allow us to place you in a lane with others swimming at a similar pace to you.

What do I need to bring for the swim?

You will need to bring your usual swim wear which you will be comfortable to complete the challenge in. You will also need to bring a water bottle to ensure that you are kept hydrated during your swim. We will provide each participant with a goodie-bag which will contain a specially designed hat for you to wear in the event.

Event Bookings

How do I book?

Book via the "Event Calendar" page on our website. You will see the participating pools list along with their event date accompanied by a link to book. Please note you can only register online; we will not accept paper entries. If you are having difficulty booking please email us at and we will be happy to help.

How much does it cost?

Booking an Indoor or Outdoor Challenge event costs €40 (plus a processing fee of 7%). This is a non-refundable fee. This covers your timed swim, event pack and access to paid technique clinics (€10 per clinic). On top of this you can download the free 12-week training programme. This fee does not give participants access to swimming pools during the 12 weeks of training, this must be booked directly through your chosen pool. More information on the "Training" page of this website. The cost of entering the Virtual Challenge is €25 (plus a processing fee of 7%) This is a non-refundable fee.

Technique Clinics

What are Technique Clinics?

Several Technique Clinics take place in designated centres over the course of the Indoor Swim for a Mile Challenge. Irish Olympians and International swimmers (who are also Swim Ireland qualified Coaches) deliver these to help with technique and to answer any questions or problems you are having with the programme.

How do I book a Technique Clinic?

To book a Technique Clinic, you must be booked into an upcoming SFAM event. A link to book clinics will be emailed to you at the start of each clinic month. You will also receive instructions on how to book upcoming clinics, within your event booking confirmation email (bookings made after January 2024). Make sure you have subscribed to our mailing list or you won't receive our emails about clinics! Clinic bookings open at the start of January, February and March.

How much does a Technique Clinic cost?

The cost of each Technique Clinic is €10 (plus a 7% processing fee). This is a non-refundable fee.

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