In the sport of open water swimming, it must be said that the Hampton Court Swim is an event of quite some history and prestige. Not only does the scenic course meander past the regal Hampton Court Palace – scene of many a great show of its own – but also this was the fifth anniversary year. With such an epic milestone, it was time for the 2014 edition of the race to truly lay down a marker for what might be to come in the future.
Hordes of eager and prepared looking swimmers gathered in their masses on Sunday 20 July at the start area for one of the most famous 2.25 mile swims in all of the UK. The talk all week had been of rain and electric storms, but as the clocks ticked over to 8.30am (the start for the first wave of swimmers), the only electricity in the air came courtesy of the incredibly vibrant atmosphere. The weather was warm, even the river was warm – a positively balmy 21.6°C! - All was set for what would turn out to be some racing for the ages.
In the women’s event, the top 3 females all finished in the top 10 amongst all swimmers in the event, a monumental feat. This time, it was Joanna Desmond (46.32) who took the coveted title ahead of Becky Monaghan from Sevenoaks Swimming Club (46.47) and third-placed Helen Mussen from Serpentine RC (46.56).
Becky's strong swim against adult competitors allowed her to place 1st in the Youth group.
In the Men's 2.25 mile race, Sevenoaks Open Water swimmer Chris Metcalf completed in 47.23 minutes placing 11th, whilst colleague Nigel Robson placed 54th after finishing in 52.19 mins. Julian Metcalf placed 71st finishing this gruelling distance in 54.13 minutes.
Congratulations to all Sevenoaks competitors !