Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lake Windermere: Before and After

Less than two weeks after the Great North Swim opened for entries, the first day of the event is closed with a maximum of 2,500 swimmers - and the second day is quickly reaching its limit.

Lake Windermere was not always the venue for thousands of open water swimmers, but it has been a marathon swimming hotbed for decades nevertheless. Since 1956, our records indicate that the British Long Distance Swimming Association has hosted numerous 25K International Championships in England's largest lake.

While modern-day open water heroes like Olympic 10K Marathon Swim medalists Maarten van der Weijden, Thomas Lurz and David Davies have recently frequented Lake Windermere, athletes like the following heroes swam up and down the lake in years past:

Elaine Gray won the 10.5-mile Windermere International Championships in 1966. A.D. van der Vieken won the 15.5-mile championship in 1970. Lotty van Teen won the 15.5-mile championship in 1974. And renowned swimmers like Kevin Murphy, Michael Read, Penny Lee Dean (shown on left), Sally Minty nee Minty-Gravett, Julie Bradshaw, Karen Burton nee Reeder, Alison Streeter and John York has honored the shores of Lake Windermere with their presence.

As one of the World's Top Open Water Swims, the Great North Swim plans to set off a total of 5,000 swimmers over a two-day period in waves of 250 people.

Colin Hill, the Event Director said, "The Great North Swim’s success is down to its stunning location, world class elite field, overwhelming support from spectators and the enthusiasm of thousands of swimmers."

Throughout the decades, Lake Windermere has been a draw for international fields of marathon swimmers. Now, it is the site for open water swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

A growing trend around the globe.

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