Eton Swim race report: Sunshine, swims and some rapid youngsters

5th September 2016

The cloudy grey skies of last week gave way to stunning sunshine for the Eton Swim on Saturday 3rd September at Dorney Lake. The pancake flat water was an inviting 20 degrees and with distances on offer from a 750m sprint to a mighty 10km, anyone inclined to a dip was catered for.

Photo 03-09-2016, 08 59 38Hundreds of swimmers began arriving around 7:30am to register for their race, trying (and failing!) to resist the temptation of the 20% end of season sale at the Zone3 stand, where their latest wetsuits, trisuits, goggles and race belts were all on display.

First off was the 750m, who had a simple one lap course ahead of them. The field contained a very impressive group of youngsters who took up all 3 spaces on both the male and female podiums – undoubtedly stars of the future! First in was Jensen Hulbert in 10:23, followed by Daniel Pearson (10:50) and Harrison Cole-Picton (11:17). Extra recognition should also go to the female winner, Ocean Poultney-Maddy who was in fact second overall with a storming time of 10:38. Second was Kaitlyn Hicks (11:52), followed by Emily Dilks (12:13) in third. The top 12 swimmers in this distance were all in either the Child, Junior or Youth age categories (except for Julian Swain (50-54) who was 6th in 11:37) – a fantastic display of future talent!

The first of the longer distances was up next (3km) with many swimmers choosing to forgo their wetsuits with the water at such a pleasant temperature. The course ahead was a simple 2 lap affair, crossing under the first of Dorney’s bridges to join the secondary lake, hugging the bank the whole way. The extremely impressive overall winner was Christine Tognoli (38:50) with the next female over 7 minutes behind her! Laura Hunter-Smith took second in 45:55 and Lesley Levison of Hillingdon Triathletes (46:22) came in third. For the men, Jack Staples came in just behind Christine in a time of 39:33, with Chris Grey of Otter Swimming Club (42:36) in second and Andrew Austin (43:07) in third.

Next into the start pens was the 1500m race, who were taking on 1 lap of the 3km course. Experience won out in the men’s race with Austin Swain (50-54) beating junior Jerome Craig in times of 20:45 and 21:32 respectively. Rick Cotgreave was the third male to finish, in a time of 22:49. Janette Cardy was the female winner (and third overall) in 22:19, followed by youth Rebecca Frost (22:25) and Olivia Rawlinson (22:37).

SiS_logo_sponsorshipThe 5km and 10km distances were taking on a 2.5km course that stretched down the lake before crossing under a further bridge into the secondary lake and heading back up the lake to join the 1500m/3km course. This meant there were 2 laps for the 5km swimmers and 4 for the 10km. To help fuel this mammoth task appropriately, there were two feed stations available at each end of the course, and participants had placed their own products on one of these. Also on offer was SiS GO isotonic energy gels and GO electrolyte drink, providing an easily digestible and quick supply of carbohydrate.

The 5km winner was Jamie Hinton (1:04:22) with a good 2 minute margin over Paul Hare (1:06:50), who was followed by Kevin Steele (1:07:53) in third. The women’s race was even more strung out, with Shannon Dalligan (1:10:00) coming in first, followed by Andrea Mason (1:13:05) and Lisa Jones (1:14:53).

Photo 03-09-2016, 09 35 1410km is known as the ‘swimmer’s marathon’ and it’s a truly impressive achievement for anyone who even completes it. This was a particularly astounding race with some incredible times being recorded and all participants should be extremely proud of themselves. The men’s race was neck and neck with Greg Wood (2:20:13) taking victory from Ben Martin (2:20:51) with a slim margin over such a long distance. Graeme Spence (2:21:25) came in third with a time that would surely have got him a win in a less competitive race! The very appropriately named Becky Power won the women’s race in 2:23:08, coming in fourth overall. She was followed by Rhian Martin (2:26:45) and Felicity Hannon (2:32:08) in second and third respectively.

All finishers picked themselves up a bit of bling (who doesn’t love a medal?!) as well as sustenance in the form of an SiS WHEY20 protein snack and a refreshingly chilled isotonic recovery drink from ERDINGER Alkoholfrei. The 5km and 10km swimmers had a dedicated recovery area with various treats on offer, including several types of cake, sweets, crisps and hot drinks. All participants could also get a printout of their result from the Results Base timing station. All results are live on the website from the moment you cross the line at a Human Race event, plus your time is texted to your mobile phone instantly.

Many swimmers were taking part to fundraise for Eton Swim’s official charity, Sue Ryder, who work tirelessly to be there for people and their loved ones, whether it’s bringing comfort to someone’s final days or enabling them to make the most of their life. In Berkshire alone, there are 200,000 people living with an incurable illness right now. The funds these swimmers raised will help to continue offering support in hospices, neurological care centres and in the community, so a big thank you for your efforts.

Well done to everyone who took part in Eton Swim, and we hope to see you at the next one! The open water season is far from over, with Woburn Abbey Triathlon (10th-11th Sep) taking place this weekend and HSBC Triathlon (18th Sep) still to come.