£10.30 – £43.71

Portishead Popsicle 2019 - festive cold water swimming event

Event Information

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Portishead Open Air Pool

Esplanade Road


BS20 7HD

United Kingdom

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Refund Policy

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Event description


If you fancy a festive swimming challenge, a bit of friendly competition and a good excuse to soak in a hot tub, drink mulled wine and eat mince-pies then this is the event for you. In the past water temperatures for Portishead Popsicle have been as low as four degrees celsius. Medical forms are required to be submitted in advance for all events.

The Popsicle is a cold water swimming gala where the emphasis is on putting the fun in fundraising. All profits from the event will help to support this community run open air pool, and we actively welcome swimmers who want to take on this challenge to raise funds for causes close to their own hearts.

We are offering the following events to swimmers over the age of 14:

133m relay

4 swimmers each swimming one length of the pool. In this event there is no differentiation between teams where some wear wetsuits and some don't, and there is no gender requirement for the teams. Teams seeking sponsorship to fundraise for charities or organisations close to their hearts are very welcome, and we'll ensure your charity gets a mention. Extra points will be awarded for teams swimming in imaginative head-gear. In past years we've had some wonderfully extravagant fancy-dress outfits amongst our relay teams; competition for 'best fancy dress' is fierce. speed-demons also welcome, as gold, silver and bronze are awarded on times.

100m event (3 lengths)

Freestyle; results will be posted for male, female, wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers, but you are welcome to swim just for fun too.

300m event (9 lengths)

Freestyle; results will be posted for male, female, wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers, but you are welcome to swim just for fun too.

33.3m fly event (1 length)

Butterfly; results will be posted for male, female, wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers, but you are welcome to swim just for fun too.

Individual Medley (4 lengths)

1 length each of butterfly, backstroke, breast stroke and front crawl to be swum in that order; results will be posted for male, female, wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers, but you are welcome to swim just for fun too

1km (30 lengths)

Ticket price will include a lap-counter, each swimmer will need to bring their own observer to monitor you during the swim and assist during your recovery. If you wish to use this event as a qualifier swim you are responsible for ensuring that you meet the requirements of your qualifier in terms of kit, water temperature and observer. In the unlikely event that the temperature does not fall to meet requirements you will be welcome to swim your distance anyway. It's all good training! This event is also perfect for swimmers building up their time / distance in cold water as the swimmer sets the distance they want to achieve on the day. There is no pressure for anybody to swim the full distance, we respect decisions swimmers make to keep themselves safe. If your lap-counter and / or observer, or any of the lifeguard crew, are in any way concerned about they will ask you to leave the water. Their decision on that is final, and you must co-operate immediately.

There will be hot tubs available for a warming soak after your swim, mulled wine and other hot drinks are available as are a variety of hot and cold snacks. Spectators are very welcome, free of charge, and they'll have a great view of your swim from our terraces.

There will also be a lane available for spur of the moment dippers and swimmers, who can simply arrive and pay on the day. These swimmers should note, however, that swimmers who have paid and entered in advance will be prioritised for use of the hot-tubs if they become over-crowded.

ENTRIES CLOSE ON 1ST DECEMBER, but please note that in past years most events have sold out quite quickly so early booking is advisable.



Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

Swimmers must be over 14 years of age, there is no upper age limit.

Do I need to be fit to do this event?

You do not need to be very athletically fit, but you must be able to confidently swim the distance you are entering. If you have any underlying medical condition including, but not limited to, any heart condition, low / high/ erratic blood pressure, any respiratory condition or if you are pregnant you should seek medical advice before taking up cold water swimming; you should not swim if you have a fever or chest infection on the day, or if you have experienced diarrhoea / vomiting within the preceding 48 hours. You need to ensure you are properly fuelled on the day, so please don't skip breakfast, and we strongly advise you not to drink alcohol the night before the event. You will be required to submit a medical form in the week before the event. No medical form, no swim. Medical forms will not be accepted on the day, they MUST be sent in advance.

There are risks associated with cold water swimming; these include increased risk of cramp, initial hyperventilation, weakness in the limbs and reduced coordination. These risks are, however, reduced if you do regular training (see below) prior to the event to ensure that you are acclimatised to cold water. Any risks will also be reduced by respecting the judgement of our lifeguards and volunteers, and acting on their requests without question. While we take every reasonable step to minimise and manage risk, it cannot be entirely eradicated in an event such as this. We rely on you taking responsibility for your own training, and cooperating with us on the day, to help us manage the risks involved in an event such as this.

Do I need to have cold water swimming experience?

Yes, although the relay event in particular is suitable for people who are new to cold water swimming this winter. You must, however, train to make sure that you are used to getting into cold water and know what it feels like to swim in cold water. The longer the event you have entered the more training you will need to do to acclimatise yourself. If you are new to the sport it is not too late to start that process, but please don't delay as water temperatures are already starting to fall. Portishead Open Air Pool is open for cold water swimming every Saturday morning between the beginning of November and the event, from 0900 to 1200, and you will be made very welcome. If you are new just mention that to a volunteer or staff member and they will be able to ensure you have some advice and support. You can also join the Portishead Open Air Pool Cold Water Swimmers group on facebook for support. To start your training before the end of October, please consider using Clevedon Marine Lake but be aware that there are no lifeguards, changing or catering facilities; please take a hot drink and plenty of warm clothes for after your swim. The Salthouse pub always makes swimmers very welcome, should you forget your flask.

What safety cover is there?

The event will be fullly life-guarded and our life-guards have received cold water specific training. Our lifeguards will not hesitate to ask a swimmer to leave the water if they are concerned. In entering this event you agree to respect their judgment and comply with their requests without question. There is first aid support on-site, and we will have a warm room available to safely re-warm anybody that we believe needs it. Again, swimmers should respect the organisers' judgement regarding re-warming as people who are very cold can experience impaired judgement. There is step access, with a handrail, at the shallow end, where the 33.3m fly, IM, 100m, 300m and 1km events finish, but two of the four relay swimmers will need to exit the pool via a ladder at the deep end unless they wish to swim back to the shallow end. Please bear that in mind when choosing your team running order.

Can I wear a wetsuit?

Wetsuits are welcome in all events, but not compulsory. You may swim against non-wetsuit swimmers in the same heat, but we will list results separately. in all events but the relay.

Will I get a medal?

No. You can't eat medals! You'll get a voucher for a hot drink and a mince pie instead. If you are fundraising for a charity we will be happy to provide a certificate to show what you have achieved. Just ask. There will be small prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed swimmers in each category of each event.

Can I just come and pay to use the hot-tub?

No. The hot tub is prioritised for those who have entered the gala. If it is not very busy we may allow casual swimmers to have a soak when they leave the water.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Portishead Open Air Pool is accessible by public transport, and there is plenty of free parking in the area (BS20 7HD). See www.portisheadopenairpool.org.uk for details.

What can/can't I bring to the event?

You are welcome to bring your own food and drink, although our cafe and tuck shop will both be open serving hot and cold food and drinks, but please DON'T bring any glass or ceramics on site. You can also bring camping chairs if you prefer that to sitting on the terraces. There is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy yourself. If it is raining you may wish to bring an umbrella as we have limited undercover space.

We were very disappointed to discover that some swimmers had brought a bottle of alcohol on site in 2018. This is unacceptable and if we discover this we are likely to ask you to leave. Alcohol being consumed in an uncontrolled manner, at a cold water event, puts both swimmers and staff at risk.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

You can email emmapusill@gmail.com

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

No. We do not allow transfer of tickets because that helps to ensure that all swimmers know exactly what they are committing to. Relay team captains will need to notify the names of their team members, and their team name, to emmapusill@gmail.com.

Can I update my registration information?

If there are significant changes you can email emmapusill@gmail.com, but it is likely that we will be able to deal with most issues on the day.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Yes please, this will help to make registration run smoothly. When entries close you will also be emailed a medical form. You must return that by email BEFORE the event, or you will not be allowed to swim. Relay team cpatains will need to organise this on behalf of thier team-mates.

What is the refund policy?

We regret that refunds cannot be given under any circumstances should you be unable to swim on the day. However, if the event is cancelled in its entirety we will refund your entry fees less the payment handling fee.

The name on the registration/ticket doesn't match the attendee. Is that okay?

No. We want to know that all swimmers know what they have committed to, and for that reason we ask people to register themselves and not others. If there is a particular reason why you want to register somebody else please email emmapusill@gmail.com. The only exception to this is the team event where the captain registers the team and then provides the details of their teammates and team name.

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Date and Time


Portishead Open Air Pool

Esplanade Road


BS20 7HD

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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