Hundreds beat the weather to take on Exmoor Open Water Swim
- Credit: Howaboutdave Photography
More than 450 swimmers braved the elements on Sunday (September 29) to take on the 2019 Exmoor Open Water Swim.
The event at Wimbleball Lake saw competitors taking on 6km, 4km and 2km races in the teeming rain.
The 6km race was won by Ilfracombe's Neil Gibson, who completed the swim in 1hr, 20mins.
Coming in second was Joe Osborne, who clocked a time of 1:23:12, and third place, went to Sian Pearson, who was not only the fastest female, but the fastest competitor to race in skins as opposed to a wetsuit.
The fastest female behind Pearson was Olympic silver medallist Heather Fell, who finished with a time of 1:32:18. Gemma Owen was the third fastest female, with her time of 1:32:33 seeing her finish first overall in the youth category.
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The 4km race was dominated by youth, with 16-year-old Ben Grainger (52:24) taking first place ahead of Barnstaple 15-year-old Sam Allix (52:26) and Oliver Heard (52:31).
Marisa Poole (59:08) was the fastest female, followed by Andrea Norris (1:01:06) and Amy Sargeant (1:05:37).
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The 2km race saw Exeter's Steven Hurley take first place with a stunning time of 25:07. 14-year-old Sunny Wright was just behind, finishing second with a time of 29:26, and Millie Downes (30:19) took third place as well as the fastest female.
Lucy Allix (30:48) was second fastest female, and Ella Pile (30:51) was just behind her to be third.
Event director Mike Morris said:
"Set up was incredibly difficult given the horrendous weather conditions, and the day itself proved just as demanding.
"I cannot believe that most of the entrants appeared, given the fact that we had a month's rain in a couple of days and I have never seen so many cars stuck in the mud!'
"Swimming is such an inclusive sport, with not only the very old and young able to participate, but also people with disabilities and cancer sufferers.
"It's no wonder that we have seen an increase of 50 per cent in events such as this throughout the UK.
"When I think how positive and elated people are when they exit a swim like this, it is no wonder that we had such a magnificent turn out - and I would like to take this opportunity to thank South West Water, the safety crew, the kayakers and the marshals for not only making the event happen but turning the day from a cancellation to a stupendous day out."