Monday, 23 October 2017

Celebration of swimming is a splashing event for families

HUNDREDS of swimmers took part in the annual Henley Mile challenge on Sunday.

HUNDREDS of swimmers took part in the annual Henley Mile challenge on Sunday.

There were competitors of all ages, with some as young as eight entering the family events.

More than 300 people signed up for the main race, a mile-long swim along the royal regatta course.

Of these, more than 50 swam the course a second time for the suits-versus-skins challenge. David Warren, of Haywards Heath, won the first race in the men’s open category in 19 minutes and 21 seconds.

Vikki Frith, from Reading University Swimming Club, won the women’s open in 20 minutes and 30 seconds.

A further 48 swimmers took part in a new knockout competition called the Temple Island Sprints. This involved a series of 100m upstream sprint races alongside Temple Island.

The junior races included the Henley Splash, a 200m downstream race for eight- to 13-year-olds.

Among those taking part were Katherine Wood, of Henley Swimming Club, who finished in 11 minutes and 29 seconds.

There was also the Henley Half Mile, which was aimed at more experienced juniors aged 10 to 14.

This was won by Boris Kempster, of Eversley in Hampshire. He swam the course in 10 minutes and four seconds.

Between races, competitors sat on the river banks enjoying picnics with their families. Tom Kean, of organising body Henley Swim, said: “We are so pleased that our family-friendly format went down a storm with everyone.

“Judging by the faces of the kids and their parents, it was clear there is tremendous potential in catering for children to take part.

The stunning weather helped make this a real jamboree of swimming, which was exactly what we had hoped for.

“We love trying-out different racing formats, and the Temple Island Sprints in particular was a powerful indicator for the future.”

Henley Swim’s next event will be a bridge-to-bridge race between Henley and Marlow on August 11.

More than 300 people are expected to take part.

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