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Mark’s record swim

MARK Blewitt blew the rest of the field away by setting a breaststroke record for the 21-mile bi-annual two-way Windermere swim.

RECORD BREAKER . . . Swimmer Mark Blewitt
RECORD BREAKER . . . Swimmer Mark Blewitt

MARK Blewitt blew the rest of the field away by setting a breaststroke record for the 21- mile bi-annual two-way Winder-mere swim.

The 36-year-old, from Limefield Street, Accrington, completed the overnight swim in 16 hours 8 minutes and set an inaugural men's breaststroke record.

The Haslingden ASC member, who also trains with Pioneer 79 from Accrington, was following in the footsteps of one of his heroes, Captain Webb.

"Captain Webb swam breaststroke 128 years ago, when he successfully crossed the Channel even though there were other relatively faster strokes in use at the time," said Mark.

"Although the conditions he endured were quite different, I wanted to see if I could get a glimpse of what it would be like to do a long distance, swimming breaststroke.

"Captain Webb wore a heavy swimming costume, and he did not have the benefit of goggles to protect his eyes. He consumed ale, brandy and beef sandwiches for energy during his swim.

"He would hardly recognise the long-distance swimming world of today with lightweight swimming costumes and goggles, and instead of ale and brandy I consumed nine litres of high-energy carbohydrate drinks over the course of the swim."

Mark, competing against 11 others, needed the help of a team to keep him going throughout the epic event.

He said: "I am indebted to my crew who escorted me in the pilot boat and I could not have done it without Matt Simpson, chief coach at Haslingden ASC, Judith Campbell and Kevin Wendt, and, of course Captain Webb who started this whole sport off."

Tomorrow, Mark is taking part in the annual one-way Windermere Race which starts at 9am at Fellfoot with the winners expected to finish at Ambleside at around 1.30pm.


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