By Steven Munatones
WINDERMERE, England, September 15. GREAT Britain's David Davies defended his home turf over his Olympic 10K Marathon Swim rivals Maarten van der Weijden and Thomas Lurz at the 1-mile Great North Swim in the largest lake in England.
Just like the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing, it was a close battle between silver medalist Davies, Olympic champion van der Weijden and bronze medalist Lurz.
Similarly, in the women's race, silver medalist Keri-Anne Payne and bronze medalist Cassandra Patten delighted the home crowd with an exciting replay of their Olympic 10K race. Right down to a photo finish, Patten just forged ahead of Payne.
The five Olympic 10K medalists plus 400-meter freestyle bronze medalist, Joane Jackson, and several other professional marathon swimmers on the FINA circuit were joined by more than 2,000 other open water swimming enthusiasts in the first-year event. The event will be broadcast nationally in an effort to continue the British open water swimming euphoria.
"The event was just amazing. To be swimming with so many people and to be cheered on by so many spectators was really impressive," Davies said. "The setting itself is stunning, the course has been well thought out and swimmers had everything they needed to really enjoy the event.
An estimated 10,000 spectators lined the shores to watch the race where traffic was reportedly stopped for miles in the scenic lake district of northern England.
The Great North Swim is part of Take To The Streets, a national program in England designed to fight physical inactivity and obesity rates while raising money for charities of the swimmers' choice.
1. David Davies 17:02.67
2. Maarten Van der Weijden 17:04.82
3. Thomas Lurz 17:18.20
4. Alan Bircher 17:25.68
5. Dave Carry 17:27.34
1. Cassandra Patten 18:21.49
2. Keri-Anne Payne 18:21.83
3. Jennifer Jackson 18:23.84
4. Jodie Swallow 18:24.34
5. Stefanie Biller 18:58.19