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BRITS SCORE AT UK’S BIGGEST OPEN WATER SWIM

14 Sep 2009

British swimmers, Tom Allen and Katy Whitfield fought their way on to podium at the British Gas Great North Swim in Lake Windermere this weekend

Allen powered through the elite field to take  bronze (16m26s) in a nail-biting race for the finish with Russia’s Danill Serebrennikov taking gold (16m23s) and Germany’s Alexander Studzinski (16m23s) coming a close second to take home silver in the men’s leg hitting the board just split-seconds later.

In the women’s elite event, Germany’s Nadine Pastor claimed victory through a stunning performance to complete the one-mile open water course in 18 minutes and 14 seconds.  She was followed by promising GB junior and winner of the British Gas Great London Swim, Katy Whitfield (18m15s) in second place and Olympic champion, Russia’s Larisa Ilchenko (18m16s) in third.

Setting the pace at the British Gas Great North Swim, elite athletes from around the globe were joined by sporting celebrities, Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP, GMTV’s resident GP, Dr Hilary Jones, EastEnders’ Phil Mitchell actor Steve McFadden and former 5000m Olympic silver medallist, Sonia O’Sullivan, who travelled to the stunning Lake District National Park shoreline to take part.

Celebrating the completion of his one-mile swim in 35 minutes for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, soap star Steve McFadden, said: “The British Gas Great North Swim and swimming in Windermere was exactly what I'd hoped for, a great atmosphere, a great day out, and raising money for a great organisation, the RNLI.”

Building on the success of the inaugural event in 2008 when 2,200 swimmers completed the one-mile open water course, this weekend, a staggering 6,000 eager swimmers took the plunge on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September and the event will be televised in the autumn on Channel 4.

The British Gas Great North Swim is part of a four race series across the UK, which will see more than 10,000 swimmers tackle the one mile distance.

The final event in the series, the British Gas Great East Swim will take place on Saturday 26 September 09. So far, 1,300 swimmers have registered to take place at the one-day event just south of Ipswich, at Alton Water - the largest area of inland water in the picturesque county of Suffolk. Entries are still open at www.greatswim.org

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