Open water races are a big hit

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THURSDAY, July 19, was the night of Matlock and District Swimming Club’s second in their series of three open water race nights held at Derwent Gardens, Matlock Bath.

After the June fixture was almost flooded out, it was decided to move the entire course 50m downstream to avoid the torrent at the top end of the course.

This turned out to be a good move as, although the rainfall had subsided somewhat since then, the river level was just as high and was a chilly 13 degrees with a lively current to boot.

The drizzly night turned out to be a great success again with over 100 people rolling up to the challenge of one, two or three races.

First was the 250m sprint race, used by many as a warm-up for the later ones. First across the line was Dave Page in 4 minutes 31 seconds, followed by James Rushton. Third place went to MAD’s very own Graham Bates in 4.12. Half an hour later and many were back in the water for the 500m race.

Dave Page again came out tops in 7.16 a few seconds ahead of John Dyer and with Hannah Shooter taking third.

Finally, it was time for the biggest event of the night, the 1500m. Using three laps of the course up and down the river this proved to be a popular event with 43 people completing the lot.

Winning this event was City of Derby SC’s Jack Sampson, who had won two of the three races at the first event of the series three weeks earlier.

15-year old Jack’s impressive time of 19.02 put him almost two minutes ahead of Joe Scurrah and Gemma Horwell, who took second and third.

The events are proving to be a real hit in the area which is rather short of open water swim racing opportunities and, with Kerri-Ann Payne tipped to win gold at the Olympics this year in the 10km open water swim, Britain’s future in this is looking bright.

Shame the weather wasn’t too, but organisers can always hope that the final evening of races in this series on Thursday, August 16, will at least be a more conventional summer’s evening, even if it is only to show off the Derwent Gardens in all their glory.

Details are available from MAD’s website and wetsuits are available for hire on the night.