Sunday, September 14, 2008

Defending One's Turf with Great Swims

The 1-mile Great North Swim in Lake Windermere in northern England was a great rematch between 6 Olympic medalists, but the British were not about to be beaten on their home turf.

Turning the tables on his Olympic rivals, David Davies won a thrilling battle in 17 minutes 3 seconds over second-place Maarten van der Weijden and third-place Thomas Lurz who just flew in from the European Open Water Swimming Championships in Croatia.

Likewise, Cassandra Patten finished in 18:21, earning a 1-second victory over Olympic 10K silver medalist Keri-Anne Payne and 400-meter freestyle bronze medalist Joanne Jackson in the made-for-TV event

More than 2,200 swimmers participated in the first-year event, the largest open water swim in the largest lake in England, that will be broadcast on British national television later this month.

And with London hosting the 2012 Olympics, the future looks bright for its homeland heroes with strong British Swimming Federation support, growing media interest and overwhelming citizen enthusiasm over open water swimming.

Decorated pool swimmer Mark Foster who did not swim due to a shoulder injury explained, "The response from the public has been phenomenal and to have 2,200 swimmers of all abilities taking to the water is a real achievement for the sport. People waiting to take part and those heading to Low Wood to support family and friends are in for a real treat, as they will got to see the most talented long-distance swimmers in the world doing what they do best."

Upper photo of Cassandra Patten from the British Olympic Association website.

Lower photo from the Westmoreland Gazette showing Patten, Foster, van der Weijden, Payne and Davies from left to right.

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