HUNDREDS of people took part in the Thames Marathon Bridge to Bridge challenge on Sunday.
The 14km endurance event from Leander Club in Henley to Marlow bridge is organised by Henley Swim and is now in its sixth year.
Swimmers set off in three waves depending on their expected speed.
The course was divided into four sections — Henley to Hambleden lock, then to Medmenham, then to Hurley and Temple Lock before the final push to Marlow bridge. At each stop the swimmers got out of the water to eat and drink.
Swimmer Sue Nadin, 54, of Park Road, Henley, said: “I love open water swimming because you can see the beautiful countryside around Henley from a different angle. It’s a shame more local people don’t do it but it brings lots of people in from outside, which is good for businesses.”
The fastest swimmer was 16-year-old Henley Swim regular Sam Crabtree, from Kent, who completed the course in two hours and 31 minutes.
Six minutes behind him was Charles Cousins, a GB sculler of Bell Street, Henley, who missed out on competing at Rio after undergoing back surgery.
The last swimmer finished in six hours and five minutes.
Henley Swim co-founder Tom Kean said: “It’s noticeably easier if there has been rain in the weeks beforehand but we’ve had a dry period so nerves were a little more on edge.
“This is a true monster endurance swim but size, age, gender and shape seem to have little impact on people’s ability to take part in such an impressive endeavour.
“Almost 80 safety crew were on hand and, as in previous years, bonds of friendship were quickly made between those on the water and those in it.
“Our small army of volunteers deserves a huge thanks because without their time and energy it simply would not happen.”