A dozen competitors from Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club dived in at the East Region Open Water Swimming Championsips on Sunday.
The competition was held in warm weather at the Whitlingham Country Park in Norwich and with the water temperature of 20.5 degrees this ensured some fast and enjoyable swimming.
The day started with the 3Km event which consisted of 3x1km loops of the lake. Harrison Newbury-Kemp and Chris Cox had a great battle with the two being locked together for the whole swim, it came down to a final sprint which Harrison took on the touch from Chris by 0.3 seconds, that saw them finish fifth and sixth in their age group (13-16 years).
Also competing was David Cox (Chris’s dad) and Tony Gaines. Tony managed to take the bronze in his age group (40-49 years) whilst David was fourth in his age group (50-59 years). David is currently in training for a cross channel relay swim so 3km may have been a bit short for him!
The 800m is an event designed for those wishing to try open water swimming without having to swim too far and Sam Gaines took a Silver in his age group (15-16 years) with a very strong swim, being close to the lead for the whole race.
Freya Beresford took part in her first ever open water event which saw her finish a very credible eighth in her age group (11-12 years).
The 1500m is by far the most popular event with three separate waves of swimmers taking to the lake for one complete lap. Hemel had five swimmers taking part all who swam very well. Chloe Purkis took gold in her age group (17-19 years) which we believe was due to her desire to get out of the lake quickly after having seen a snake swimming earlier in the day, her biggest phobia!
The 1500m saw brothers Cameron and Lewis Clark take part in the first Open Water race with Cameron taking 19th and Lewis 30th, both were competing in the same age group. Georgia Purkis took 11th and Alice Fender fourth overall. The 1500m Open Water Age groups are very wide with swimmers aged 12–16 years competing for the same medals.
The final event was the 5Km which involved three complete laps of the lake, Heidi Gibbons took part in what was her first Open Water event. The race was later in the day so the lake was starting to get quite choppy in the unsheltered sections which made the swim an even bigger challenge. Heidi took home the gold medal in her age group.
Overall it was a very successful day in swimming terms and the nice weather ensured the spectators had a relaxing day. Special mention to Hemel old boy Max Jelfs who won his age group giving him qualification for the National Open Water Event.