2017 Eton Swim Race Report

26th June 2017

Around 600 swimmers joined us at Dorney Lake on Saturday 24 June for the Eton Swim, an annual favourite in the south-east swimming community. Five challenges were available on the day ranging from a swift 750 metres to an epic 10km swimming marathon. After a record breaking June heatwave had hit the UK earlier in the week, swimmers and spectators would have been forgiven for packing their sunscreen, but were greeted on the day with an overcast sky and intermittent drizzle. The lake remained a pleasant 21.5°C, leaving some competitors debating until the last minute whether to wear a wetsuit or not.

The first scheduled race of the day was the 750 metre distance, and after a plethora of blue swim caps were squeezed over heads, and goggles applied, we were ready to begin. A clear leader emerged from early on, with Lizzie Barraclough bossing her way round the lake, eventually finishing a clear 150 metres ahead of the closest competition in a time of 11:01. Sarah McDonnell and Grace Bingham-Cloke completed the top three. The fastest male of the day was Daniel Mansfield in 14:05, with Mathieu Ducry and Carlos Arrebola following swiftly behind.

The 1,500 metres was a much closer battle, with Alex Mason the fastest across the line in 19:19, just eleven seconds swifter than Elliot Bertam, with Martin Kremmen third. Francesca Dickens clocked a fantastic 21:56 to win the female category, followed by Rebecca Frost (24:04) and Saskia Greenhalgh (26:31). Everybody who crossed the line was rewarded with a fresh pint of ERDINGER Alkoholfrei, the isotonic recovery drink that is hugely popular with swimmers and triathletes across the country.

3,000 metres proved to be one of the biggest draws, with around 200 people on the start line looking spectacular in their matching orange caps. The weather had given plenty of food for thought regarding wetsuits, and quite a few challengers could be seen ditching their suits at the last minute after testing the water. Some frantic splashing signalled the start, as everybody headed into the clear and clear waters of Dorney, safely shepherded by the dedicated water safety team. It was Melanie Quinn who confidently clocked the fastest finish time, smashing all 3k in just 38 minutes and 59 seconds. Just five seconds separated second placed female Sarah Moore (40:50), and Ffion Jones in third. First in the male category was Kevin Steele, who at 39:01 was tantalising only 2 seconds off the overall victory.  Chris Grey and Daniel Mcendoo were the other males on the podium.

In the 5k Vaughan Luff showed considerable strength, power and consistency to complete the long-distance challenge in 1:08:06, whilst the fastest man not wearing a wetsuit was Jack Staples in an impressive 1:12:00. Claire Fosbrook was the fastest 5k female, sailing through the Dorney waters in just 1:09:53. Janette Cardy was our fastest non-wetsuit female (1:22:10).

Much of the attention on the day was focused on the marathon-like 10k race, which has become a real badge of honour in the swimming community over recent years. Tackling over 6 miles in the water in one go is a huge undertaking, but the atmosphere lake side before the start was calm and relaxed. If the competitors were feeling anxious they were certainly not showing it. After a walk-in start the challenge got underway, and they made their way down the lake used as the rowing venue during the London 2012 Olympics. After a couple of laps, it was obvious that the standard was incredibly high, with a pleasing level of sensible pacing amongst the frontrunners. A little over two hours in, anticipation began to grow on the banks of the lake as the first finisher approached, and it was Laure Kearns who emerged first from the water to cross the line and take the title in 2:14:44. Three minutes later Guy Davis followed, taking the male plaudits. Tom Greaves was the first non-wetsuit wearer out of the water in 2:32:11, with Sarah Webb the fastest female in just a swimming costume.

A huge thank you to everybody who joined us at the event, and we hope to see you again soon. You can find all the results from the Eton Swim 2017 here.

Human Race are back at Dorney Lake throughout the summer for the continuation of the Triathlon Series, with the big Lidl BananaMan and Shock Absorber WomenOnly Triathlon events in July, and the Duchenne UK Triathlon bringing the season to a spectacular close on Sunday 17 September.