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17 Aug 2009

The British Gas Great London Swim, which included five of the six Beijing Olympic 10k open-water medallists, line up on the start pontoon for the inaugural race at the Royal Victoria Dock.

The elite women’s race saw the emergence of some great talent in the form of Katy Whitfield from Great Britain. She swam a confident race and despite swimming the furthest route, she beat off competition from some of the best pool and open-water swimmers, including triple Olympic medallist Stephanie Rice, who came sixth.

Olympic bronze medallist and winner of last year’s Great North Swim, Cassie Patten sealed the bronze medal after a strong race and Brazil’s Polianna Okimoto, who won bronze in the 5k open-water World Championships, won the silver.

In the elite men’s race, Germany’s Tomas Lurz, current World 5k and 10k champion, was in control throughout and despite a late attack from the group he managed to pull away within the last meter to secure gold. Lurz was neck and neck with Olympic silver medallist, Dave Davies for most of the way but when he turned on the power Davies was unable to hold on.

It was great to see Dan Fogg making the transition from pool to open-water, although he did not swim a great tactical race, getting caught up in the pack early on, he did pick a great line on the home straight, to push Lurz all the way to the finish, securing second place in front of Davies.

A special mention for Tom Allen who came fifth. The young swimmer who competed very well against more experienced open-water veterans shows Britain’s depth of quality and potential for 2012.

Following in the waves of the elites, over 1000 swimmers took the plunge to swim the same one-mile course, against the striking urban background of Canary Wharf and The O2 arena.

The British Gas Great London Swim is the first event to take place in the series, which comprises of four one mile open-water events, taking place in venues across the UK: London, Scotland, Windermere and Suffolk. Over 10,000 swimmers of all abilities will make a splash this summer, including Olympians, celebrities, triathletes, club and fun swimmers. The events will be televised on Channel 4 in late September.

The next event is the British Gas Great Scottish Swim, taking place in Strathclyde Country Park on Saturday August 29. To find out more and enter online visit www.greatswim.org.


For more information please contact Caroline Holmes on 07894 386 688 or email caroline.holmes@nova-international.com

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