The first ever Great Big Open Water Swim, sponsored by Blueseventy, took place on Saturday 11 July at Dorney Lake, Eton. Despite the overcast sky, swimmers eagerly lined up for the race options of either a 3km, 1 mile or 1km race distance.
Alongside them was a very special guest. Olympic champion and Blueseventy ambassador, Maarten Van Der Weijden, who won gold in the 10km swim at Beijing, had flown in from Holland to take part in the 3km event. A last minute entry from Richard Stannard, however, who was back in his first race since a serious bike crash last month, meant that the win wasn’t inevitable for Van Der Weijden.
The 3km event, which kicked off first, quickly saw the three swimmers of Van Der Weijden, Stannard and Bradley Hales, make a break from the pack. In a nail-biting race, the three stayed together with Van Der Weijden using his usual ‘slipstreaming’ technique behind Stannard until 2.5km when he powered past to take the lead. The trio left the water with only seconds between them to race up the gantry to the finish line. Van Der Weijden just pipped Stannard to the post for the win by only one second, with Hales putting in a superb performance only a couple of seconds back.
“It’s my third time racing in the UK,” said Van Der Weijden. “Dorney Lake is perfect for open-water swimming but this was a hard race and there was tough competition out there from Richard Stannard. I officially retired in December 2008 but I’m still doing some training. The Swim today was great. I really enjoyed following Stannard around the 3km course. Blueseventy have helped me out throughout my career and it’s great to be able to use one of their suits to promote the Great Big Open Water Swim’.
Stannard was thrilled with his race. “It feels great to be back in the water again,” he said. ‘It was a real privilege to race alongside Maarten in these fantastic conditions. There’s a growing demand for open-water swimming and Dorney Lake is the ideal location for such races. I tried to shake Maarten off but he has a powerful long stroke and he really pushes himself to take the lead.”
1 Maarten Van Der Weijden 32.25
2 Richard Stannard 32.26
3 Bradley Hales 32.29
1 F Michelle Senecal 37:39
2 F Katherine Weber 39:14
3 F Sophie Whitworth 40:03
The 1 mile event saw stunning performances by two ladies who gave the boys a run for their money finishing second and third overall out of the 77 entrants. Barnaby Kempster took the overall win in a superb 22:07 but it was Teresa Dray and Emma Dearsley who left the rest of the guys in their wake finishing in 22:31 and 23:18 respectively.
1 mile Results
1 Barnaby Kempster 22:07
2 Teresa Dray 22:31
3 Emma Dearsley 23:18
2 M Philip Donnelly 23:24
3 M David Holmes 25:01
3 F Deborah Davies 26:56
The 1 km followed the exact same pattern as the 1 mile event, with two ladies showing the guys who was boss, as they came in second and third overall. But it was young swimming sensation Josh Harris from Wales, who took the win out on his own in a very speedy 10:23, followed by Tamsin Lewis (Sigma Sport) in 12:44 and Amanda Read in 14:03. Martin Shipp, who won his entry in a competition in 220 triathlon magazine, was delighted with 2nd male and 4th overall.
1 Josh Harris 10:23
2 Tamsin Lewis 12:44
3 Amanda Read 14:03
2 M Martin Shipp 14:56
3 M David Moggs 15:09
3 F Tara Sutthoff 14:14
Full results www.humanrace.co.uk