52 swimmers set off early on Saturday morning for the 1.2 mile swim from Hurst Castle to Colwell Bay. First across was Charles Bagot, who arrived to rousing cheers from the large crowd of well-wishers who had gathered on the shore.
Amongst the swimmers taking part were 6 members of the West Wight Football Club which, like the Sports Centre, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. None of the group had taken part in an open water swim before they swapped training on a pitch to in the Solent. Age proved no barrier for the oldest swimmer Alison Clifford who turns 71 on her next birthday.
It’s the seventh time the Centre has organised the event which attracts entrants from across the country and is the Trust’s largest fundraising event. Since 2010 over 300 people have taken part. This year the swimmers were accompanied by 32 kayakers, and a flotilla of ribs and safety boats. While the Freshwater Independent Lifeboat escorted everyone safely through the water.
“It was another tremendous event, and we are very proud of all our swimmers” says Clare Griffin, Centre Manager. “And it was great to see such a big crowd of people at Colwell who wanted to cheer our swimmers as they arrived. We are also grateful to all the volunteers from kayakers, safety boats crews and shoreside teams who give up their Saturday morning to make it all possible.”
Photos for the event can be found on WWSCC Facebook page