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Hector Pardoe sets British record for 25km swim at French National Open

Olympic hopeful Hector Pardoe has become the first British man to break the five-hour barrier in a 25km open water swim competition.

The 19-year-old, who has been named on British Swimming’s World Class Programme for the 2020-21 season, clocked an impressive four hours, 59 minutes and three seconds as he took second spot in the French National Open Championships.

Pardoe, who trains in Montpellier, knocked more then five minutes off the previous best time for a 25,000 metre swim by a Brit which had stood for 15 years.

He beat Alan Bircher’s time of five hours, four minutes and 16 seconds that was set at the 2005 Montreal World Championships.

Pardoe was 17 seconds adrift of the French reigning double world champion Axel Reymond, who recorded a time of four hours, 58 minutes and 46 seconds to take the gold medal at the Ile des Loisirs, Jabelines, near Paris.

But the teenager held off a late challenge for second place from Holland’s Marcel Schouten, who took the bronze in a time of four hours, 59 minutes and five seconds.

Junior gold

Pardoe’s performance also earned him the junior gold medal and he said: “I felt pretty good throughout the race.

“I pushed a little too hard from the 15-20km mark and felt it at the end.

“Having only been back in training for three weeks, following an extended three-week holiday, the last lap most definitely took its toll on me.”

In February, Pardoe finished 10th at the Final World Marathon Series held in Doha – and was selected to compete in the Olympic qualifying event, which will now be held in Fukuoka, Japan, in May 2021.