Amidst a backdrop of cancelled races and traditional formats which have little hope of recommencing soon (the Manchester Cross Country League being the latest to cancel at least part of the season) the open water swim series has been remarkably popular and resistant to the developments of the outside world. The Chillswim 7 mile in Coniston is a classic example, and indeed Melanie Sayed was more than up for the challenge as she arrived at the hallowed shores on Saturday morning. Starting at 10:20am, she faced the longest swimming race she has ever taken on, but with a pace of under 33 minutes per mile she mastered the conditions brilliantly and finished in under three hours 50 minutes.
The following day saw the latest instalment of the Epic Events Lakes swims at Ullswater. Perhaps the most iconic location on the calendar, it is overlooked by Pooley Bridge and often attracts a large crowd. Naturally it was more of a spaced out atmosphere than in previous years, and the water was freezing, but five club members opted for the longest distance of 3.8km and in a remarkably close race, all were separated by less than seven minutes. Coming out on top was David Wright who recorded a 1:32:54, and Chris Hayes, sporting a “speckled” colour scheme wetsuit, joined him in the top 50 coming home less than half a minute behind. He in turn was just over a minute ahead of Kevin Dunbar who probably should have a Lake District tourist pass by now (or at least after next week’s Windermere Triathlon) and Azzam Taktak was not too far behind either with a time of 1:36:52, while Rob Preston rounded out the weekend of racing with a great effort to beat the 1hr 40 mark. Next weekend’s offerings include the aforementioned festival of racing in the South Lakes, while the North West Classic Triathlon has been moved to Alderford Lake (now on Saturday 19 September NOT Sunday 20th as previously advertised) and the Darley Moor Duathlon is still going ahead in time trial format the following morning.