Sunday, 22 September 2019

Open water swimmer regains 2km title after six years

Open water swimmer regains 2km title after six years

MORE than 70 people took part in an open water swim as part of this year’s Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta.

Swimmers including children took on either the 1km or 2km challenge ahead of the two-day regatta on the River Thames between the villages.

The 46 1km finishers started at the regatta finish line and swam upstream beyond the bridge and back, while the 28 2km swimmers had to do this twice. Gary Dressel won the 2km race in a time of 21 minutes and 32 seconds in a repeat of his victory six years ago. The runner-up was last year’s winner Matt McQuillan.

The 1km race was won by Oliver Doyle in a time of 11 minutes and 16 seconds, bettering his second place last year.

The evening also included Go With The Flow in which children and newcomers were able to try open water swimming. The event began as a pilot in 2011 and has been held on the eve of the regatta evert since. Ben Phillis, chairman of the swim committee, said: “A lot of people register beforehand but we also get people turning up on the day.

“We see a lot of the same faces each year but we are trying to get younger and older people involved. We want to give the younger people confidence in the water.

“Open water swimming has really taken off in the last couple of years and more and more people are getting involved. They love it and a lot of the kids are swimming in the river anyway, so then the parents get involved. There is a group of us locally who go out and do it most weeks.”

Mr Phillis, 45, of Station Road, Wargrave, said he didn’t take part in this year’s swim because he wanted to ensure everything ran smoothly.

He said he expected the event to have raised about £1,750, which will go towards the cost of the regatta, which has been going 152 years.

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