THE third Bridge to Bridge Swim in the Thames from Henley to Marlow took place on Sunday.
More than 300 swimmers and their supporters met at Leander Club for the start of the 14km challenge.
Competitors came from all over Britain as well as Austria, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland.
The majority wore wet suits to cope with the 19C temperature while others had normal swimming costumes.
They all wore bright green caps so they could be spotted easily and were grouped together in “pods” according to their speed. Canoeists were on hand in case any got into difficulty. The swimmers went via Hambleden, Hurley and Temple locks, with four food stops en route, and were cheered and applauded by spectators.
Most of the swimmers who entered the water in Henley made it to Marlow Rowing Club with just seven dropping out on the way.
The first one home was New Zealander Daniel Abel, an open water swimming instructor, who finished in three hours and 18 minutes.
The last swimmer exited the water in Marlow after just over five hours.
Event co-founder Tom Kean said: “Safety is always our number one priority, so we have devised a format that seems to work well.
“We’ve designed a sportive-style event where the trick is to manage the differing needs of the skins swimmers with those in wet suits as they experience the cold in different ways.
“The water proved comfortable for just about everyone this year, in stark contrast to previous years when several people were close to pulling out due to the cold.”
Mr Kean, a former rower, said there was a “buzz” after the event with many competitors saying they wanted to take part in future years.
The annual event supports a number of charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Helen and Douglas House and SKIDZ.
The date for next year’s swim will be announced soon. For more information, visit www.henleyswim.com