Coniston open water swim by James Duffy
Over 600 hundred swimmers took to Coniston Water on Saturday 1st September to take part in the gruelling Chillswim Coniston open water swim supervised by 40 kayakers including a team from Liverpool Canoe Club. After a somewhat tropical summer, the water temperature in the lakes was back in the normal temperature range of 16.8 degrees for the early morning swim.
The event was a 5.25 mile linear swim of Coniston, and full support was provided for the swimmers by the kayakers. However, each swimmer also had a mandatory float in tow which made the task of the safety kayakers much easier.
The Chillswim Coniston is open to both wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers, and approximately 120 of the swimmers chose to swim without a wetsuit.
The fastest swimmer of the day was 21-year-old Sean Wylie from Hexham, who blasted the course in 1 hour 45 minutes and 53 seconds; the fastest time in the event’s history. Wylie was followed by Tom Robinson of Ulverston, in 1:51:04, who turns 18 next week. The fastest woman was 17-year-old Abbie Holyoake of Yorkshire Pentathlon, who finished in 1 hour 59 minutes.
In the non-wetsuit category, first man was 46-year-old Phillip Hewitt of Hartlepool in 2:07:36 and first woman was 27-year-old Rachel Wilkinson from Yorkshire in 2:16:54.
Swimmers range from first time long distance open water swimmers to Channel swimmers and everything in between. John McGivern from Merseyside participated with his three children as his 70th birthday present to himself. “Having swum this event with Chillswim before I knew it was special, and I wanted to have a great family memory for my 70th birthday. What better way than bringing my kids to swim 5 miles with me?”
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