Tackling The Toughest Inland Swim In Britain

Tackling The Toughest Inland Swim In Britain

Janet Wilson, Swim Secretary of the British Long Distance Swimming Association, reported on the biennial 21.6-mile Loch Lomond Championship in Scotland held in the largest loch in Great Britain.

Leslie DuCane (3:20 pm), Michelle Sharples (5:00 pm), Gerrard (Gez) Lyon (7:00 pm), Vanessa Hammond (8:00 pm) and later Darron Corden and Paul Higgins-Drysdale all started at different times, but had the same goal – to finish at Drumkinnon Bay in Balloch.

After injuries and hypothermia eliminated the athletes during the cover of darkness, Gez and Vanessa remained in the 12°C (53.6°F) water with an even cooler° air temperature of 5°C (41°F). Vanessa, whose goal was 12 hours, was not far off her official time of 12:08, while Gez completed the tough crossing in 16:31.

Described as the toughest inland swim in Britain, Janet notes that a successful crossing of Loch Lomond is even less achievable than the English Channel. Only 46 successful attempts recorded by 38 swimmers have been officially documented since the first crossing in 1959.

Gez raised £5,000 for the Richard Scowcroft Foundation and recalled, “Swimming has helped me and saved the day really. [My previously injured] knee still hurts and I am still having physio, but I wanted to try the harshest open water swim in the UK. I had a target time for under 12 hours, but it is always subject to the weather and it turned into a survival exercise.”

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