Eighty swimmers sprinted into the sea at the start of Burnham-On-Sea’s annual Stert Island Swim on Sunday (July 18th).
The unique 2,400m race saw the participants swimming from Burnham beach to Stert Island and back in front of large crowds of spectators lining The Esplanade.
The event was won by Steve Ferguson from Plymouth Triathletes in a fast time of 29 minutes and 24 seconds, with his team mate Darren Walker in second place – both of whom are pictured above. Full results are available here.
Steve told Burnham-On-Sea.com on the finishing line: “It was quite choppy out there and you couldn’t see a thing in the water, but it was a fantastic swim. I’m delighted to win on my birthday.”
The biggest cheers of the day were for disabled swimmer Dave Cooke, pictured, who finished in 53rd position in an impressive time of 48 minutes and 8 seconds.
Dave, who was the 2009 European Para Triathlon Champion, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It was a challenging swim but I loved every moment of it. There was a bit of swell and visibility was very poor, which meant it was easy to get disorientated, but I was pleased with my time.”
There was disappointment, though, for Burnham-On-Sea pensioner Roger Venner, 76, who failed to finish.
Roger was taken onboard a lifeboat and brought back to the beach after being in the cold water for over an hour. Cold and tired, he received a check-over by the St John first aiders.
Organiser Sara Hudghton from West Country Triathletes, who also took part and was third overall, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It’s been another great event – we’re delighted with how it’s gone. We had a big crowd of spectators and dry weather.”
“A big thank you goes to all those who took part, plus the Mayor and Mayoress for presenting the prizes, the Town Council for its financial support, and BARB, the RNLI, Taunton Canoe Club and St John for making it such a safe event.”
Mayor and Mayoress Michael and Maria Clarke with Cllr Neville Jones sounded the horn to start the event
The swimmers raced into the sea at the beginning of the gruelling swim
The competitors rushed into the sea next to the jetty at high tide
The eighty swimmers attempted to make the crossing to Stert and back
Determined winner Steve Ferguson from Plymouth Triathletes heads for home
Organiser Sara Hudghton also took part and finished third overall
One of the five entrants who didn’t finish was taken back to shore by lifeboat
Burnham’s Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft also provided safety cover
Roger Venner, 76, retired from the race and was taken ashore by the lifeboat
Organisers helped the tired and cold pensioner back up the beach
One competitor was delighted to find her goggles after losing them in the sea!
Mike Gardner gave a running commentary about how the race was unfolding
The organisers presented a special Stert Island Swim towel to the Mayor and Mayoress to thank them for their help
Photos by Burnham-On-Sea.com and Al Crook