Weston swimmer Mark Dunstone won first place in Burnham-On-Sea’s gruelling Stert Island Swim on Sunday (July 19th).
The annual 2,400m sea swim went ahead despite high winds and choppy seas making challenging conditions.
Six competitors were unable to finish, and organisers agonised over whether to hold the event.
Winner Mr Dunstone told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “They were interesting conditions out there today. Going out was very tough, with swimmers going in all directions through the waves but it was a good race.”
Mr Dunstone won in a time of 30 minutes, 10 seconds while race organiser Sara Hudghton of West Country Triathletes was sixteen seconds behind in second.
Malcolm Greenslade of Somerset Triathletes was a further four seconds back in third.
Several swimmers were brought back to the shore by the lifeboats, including the oldest competitor, 75-year-old Roger Venner from Burnham, pictured below.
He was helped by St John Ambulance first aiders after struggling in the tough conditions, but was unhurt.
Another competitor who did not complete the event was Mike Regan, who told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It was quite rough out there today. I didn’t feel myself, so decided to come back safely rather than try and make the crossing.”
Despite the weather, organiser Sara Hudghton said she was pleased with how the event had gone.
“I was very concerned for the safety of the swimmers and did wonder whether it should go ahead, but we made the right decision to continue.”
“Enormous thanks go to the RNLI, BARB and Taunton Canoe Club for their help in keeping it safe, and we also thank our financial supporters, ASDA and the town council, for their valued help.”
The event’s youngest competitor, nineten-year-old swimmer Hannah Nicol from West Country Triathletes, told Burnham-On-Sea.com she was “really pleased” to have completed the swim in a time of 42:31, putting in her 32nd place overall.