Daniil Serebrennikov and Nadine Pastor of German upset their more famous elite competitors in the 1-mile British Gas Great North Swim yesterday under sunny skies and in 17°C water in Lake Windermere this weekend. Olympian and race commentator Steve Parry reports, "The elite races demonstrated the importance of tactics for both the men’s and women’s events."
"In the women’s race, 10K world champion Keri-Anne Payne took an early lead until the 1.200K mark while followed by a chasing pack with Germany’s Steffi Biller and Nadine Pastor and the Russian Olympic gold medalist Larisa Ilchenko. At this point, the physicality of the sport really came into the full view with leg and elbow kicks coming into quick exchange."
"Nadine broke free of the chasing pack and used the calm water to her full advantage, while Katy chose to take a different route than the group as she gained valuable yards. Nadine was the clear winner, but you could have thrown a coin over second, third and fourth. Great Britain's Katy Whitfield finished second with the Larisa in third and Keri-Anne in fourth."
The first half of men’s race was led by long-distance specialist Alexander Studzinski of Germany who built up a ten-meter gap between him and the chase pack.
Steve summarizes, "It looked like an impossibility that Alexander was ever going to lose, but Daniil Serebrennikov of Russia swam the perfect race and timed his move flawlessly, pushing ahead for just one [last] metre of the race to give Daniil his second victory in the British Gas Great Swim four-part series. Much to the delight of the home crowd, British junior swimmer Tom Allen finished hin third."
But, more importantly, 6,000 other swimmers entered the event with the world-class swimmers in only the second year of the event.
"The Great Swim brand has created a series of events for people to get excited about," said Steve. "My personal hope is that these mass participation open water swimming events will one day be just as popular and successful as their Great Run counterparts."
Elite Women’s Results:
1. Nadine Pastor (GER) 18.14
2. Katy Whitfield (GBR) 18.15
3. Larisa Ilchenko (RUS) 18.16
Elite Men’s Results:
1. Daniil Serebrennikov (RUS) 16.23
2. Alexander Studzinski (GER) 16.23
3. Tom Allen (GBR) 16.26
The event will be televised in Great Britain in the fall on Channel 4.