Mike Harris wins the Peter Pan Cup 2021
Congratulations to Mike Harris who wins the iconic Peter Pan Cup on Christmas day 2021!
Well done to James Norton who came in second and Will Luckhurst who came in third in a hotly contested swimming race.
The water temperature was 6.4C / 43.5F.
Merry Christmas to all on this Christmas day!
Mike Harris, 2021 winner of the Peter Pan Cup
158 Christmas Day swims for the Serpentine Swimming Club
The Serpentine Swimming Club's Christmas morning handicap is swum over a 100 yard course for the Peter Pan Cup. The club's Christmas Day race has been held every year since 1864. In the early years it was customary for the winner to be presented with a medal. Author J M Barrie became associated with the Christmas Day race in 1903 when he first donated a Peter Pan Cup. This coincided with the play Peter Pan's debut on the London stage. Barrie continued to present a cup for the winner each year up to 1932. The honour then fell to Albert Greenbury, a dedicated member since 1909 who served as club president from 1935 to 1955. To this day the Greenbury family continue the tradition. Albert's granddaughter, Lucy Harris, is a current member and races all through the year.
On the rare occasions when ice has prevented the race from going ahead on Christmas morning, the Peter Pan cup has been swum once the ice has cleared. Normally this means a race in January, though in 1981 the ice lingered and the race was eventually swum on 27 February 1982. Covid restrictions meant the club could not hold the Christmas race in 2020. However, we were allowed to swim "socially distanced" and many members swam the traditional 100 yard course - each undertaking their own personal Christmas Day race. So in fact the club's 157th Christmas Day swim did take place and in 2021 we could proudly proclaim our event as the 158th.
Sir James Barrie, 1860 - 1937
The 1981 Peter Pan cup race was postponed due to ice. It was eventually held on 27 February 1982.
Over the years the Serpentine Swimming Club's Christmas morning race has attracted much attention from members of the press and other media in search of an interesting story. The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News would regularly sketch reports and provide their own spin on the race and the club's many characters.
Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, January 1907
Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, January 1908
Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, January 1909
Some more from the archive
1922 race - youngest aged 12, oldest aged 72
For more background on the history of the race please follow this link to the 2020 report on "the race we missed""