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What lengths would you go to for our veterans? 

Swim the length of one, two, three or all five of the Normandy beaches this June to commemorate 80 years since the Normandy Landings.

D-Day. 6 June 1944. Allied Forces crossed the English Channel to liberate Nazi occupied Europe. Battling blustery seas, they landed on five beaches in Normandy – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. This marked the beginning of the end of World War Two.

Your Challenge

Throughout June, we’re asking you to swim the length of one, two, three or all of the Normandy beaches. This range of distance reflects the varying lengths of the five Normandy beaches. 

We will send you a free Help for Heroes Swimming Cap once you receive your first donation!

Where will you swim?

This is a virtual challenge, so you don’t need to be in Normandy. Simply pick your distance and head to your favourite swimming spot. Take the plunge indoors and head to your local swimming pool. Or brace yourself for some cold water swimming and find an outdoor swimming club near you. Wherever you choose to swim, please make sure you are safe and, if swimming outdoors, that you are not alone and swimming is allowed.

Utah = 5km, Omaha = 7km and Juno, Gold and Sword = 11.5km each
The challenge lengths - the same as the Normandy beaches

Operation Swim Certificate

Have you completed the Operation Swim challenge? Download your Certificate of Achievement.

Download Certificate PDF 423.0 KB

Operation Swim Challenge Guide

Find more information in the Operation Swim Challenge Guide

Download PDF 1.0 MB


Did you know Help for Heroes started with a swimming pool?

Our co-founders Bryn and Emma Parry launched a fundraising appeal for a space where veterans could swim and recover in dignity. The public’s response was overwhelming, and led to the creation of the Charity that continues to change veterans’ lives today. 

Your hard work help make a huge difference to the lives of brave men and women in the Armed Forces Community. Men and women like Simon, who got the help he needed and regained his confidence by swimming again.  

Read Simon’s full story 


The team is on hand to answer all your questions from Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. Whether you’re after event specifics or fundraising advice, we’d love to hear from you. 

Email: events@helpforheroes.org.uk 

  • Operation Swim FAQs
    • You can choose to swim one or more of the Normandy beaches. Utah is 5km, Omaha is 7km and Juno, Gold and Sword are 11.5km each. So you could choose any combination of those lengths up to 47km.  

    • Utah is 5km and would take 200 lengths of a 25m pool.  

      Omaha is 7km and would be 280 lengths. 

      Gold, Juno and Sword are 11.5km each, and would be 460 lengths per beach.  

      The combined distance of all five beaches would be 47km, or 1,880 lengths. Or 63 lengths a day! 

    • The event starts on 1 June and finishes 30 June 2024.

    • If you need help finding a local swimming bath in your area head to Poolfinder. Or if you want to brave the outdoors, there's a list of pools across the UK at Swim England. 

      If you plan on outdoor swimming, please read Swim England's Open Water tips.

    • From the point of activating your fundraiser, it can take up to ten working days for the Swim Cap to arrive. If you've waited longer than this, please contact us and we'll look into this for you.

Operation Swim

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