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Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Legacy Of Loch Lomond

Courtesy of Mark Sheridan, Zoe Sadler, Janet Wilson of the British Long Distance Swimming Association.

Loch Lomond is a 24-mile (38.6 km) freshwater loch in Scotland. Loch Lomond is a popular leisure destination and is site to many open water swims including the Great Scottish Swim.

Since Gerald Forsberg first crossed the loch in 15 hours 31 minutes on August 2nd 1959, there have been 57 individuals who have successfully crossed Loch Lomond under British Long Distance Swimming Association rules.

"We are aware that other swimmers have swum the length of Loch Lomond and there have been a number of wetsuit swims," explains Zoe Sadler of the British Long Distance Swimming Association.

"I have also heard of some other swims, but these swims were not submitted to the BLDSA for swim recognition.

The BLDSA cannot recognise swims where a swim application was not submitted, as we cannot verify that the BLDSA swim rules were followed
."

Sadler who serves as the British Long Distance Swimming Association Honorary Recorder described how the swim can be completed in one of two ways:

"[The first is] at the BLDSA Loch Lomond Championship that takes place every two years over a weekend in August. The last championship was held on August 20th-21st 2016. The next Championship will be held in August 2018. [The second is] via the individual Swim Recognition route. The BLDSA will recognise individual swims of the Loch if the swimmer meets the criteria for swim recognition. This is all outlined in the swim recognition rules [see here].

In the most recent Championship event in 2016, 10 swimmers started and 5 completed the swim [see the results here]. In 2014, 9 swimmers started and 2 completed the swim.

The BLDSA Loch Lomond Championship Event takes place overnight. Swimmers have a staggered start depending on their predicted swim time, with the aim of the swimmers finishing at between 7 am - 9 am the following morning. A big part of the challenge is the overnight aspect. In 2014, the air temperature overnight dropped to just above freezing temperature.

The water temperature is typically between 10°C and 15°C. In 2016, the water temperature varied between 14°C and 16°C depending on which part of the Loch. There are some deep parts of the Loch, but the bottom half of the Loch is much shallower. Loch Lomond is typically described as being 2 separate basins. The north basin gets to 190 meters deep in its deepest part, the south basin (where the 30+ islands are) is much shallower, and it is possible to run aground between the islands. It is absolutely essential to have a good map and good navigation skills, because there are a number of islands to navigate in the dark. The longest island, Inchmurrin, is around 1 mile long
."

Sadler continued about the challenging venue for marathon swimmers. "Loch Lomond is absolutely stunning. It took my breath away when I saw it last year, it is surrounded by mountains, including Ben Lomond which is a spectacular sight when swimming past. Loch Lomond is also surprisingly accessible, being only half an hour's drive from Glasgow International Airport. There are plenty of car hire outlets at Glasgow International Airport, and the roads are good from the airport to Balloch, which has lots of hotels and restaurants in the vicinity."

Sadler described the 21.6-mile (38.6 km) course. "The official Loch Lomond swim route is from the beach at Ardlui to Drumkinnon beach at Balloch. The BLDSA Championship Event is swum from north (Ardlui) to south (Balloch), but the BLDSA will recognise individual swims in either direction. The official distance of the swim is 21.6 miles (34.7 km), making it the longest swim championship in the UK open water swimming calendar.

A two-way attempt was made in August 2016, but sadly it was unsuccessful. We are waiting for someone to do this swim
."

The BLDSA is managed and run by volunteers. There are two locals who offer a swim piloting service: Robert Hamilton of Vigour Events who piloted Philip Hodges who won the 2014 Championship and Chris Sifleet of Swim4Miles who piloted Sabrina Wiedmer who won the 2016 Championship.

Since Commander Forsberg crossed in 1959, a total of 57 swimmers have swum Loch Lomond under BLDSA rules with Susan Baddeley in 1960 and David Morgan in 1979 being the youngest and only successful swimmers under 16 years old. The oldest swimmer to complete the swim was Kathy Batts.

James Leitch is the most prolific swimmer and has swum Loch Lomond 7 times to date. He also holds the men's championship record set in 9 hours 16 minutes 32 seconds in 2012. The ladies championship record is held by Rebecca Lewis, set in 9 hours 23 minutes 34 seconds also in 2012. The men's overall record is held by Leitch in 9 hours 14 minutes. The breaststroke record is held by Philip Yorke, swum in 16 hours 47 minutes in 2016.

Successful Swimmers of Loch Lomond:
1 Gerald Forsberg 15 hours 31 minutes 9 seconds (individual swim on August 2nd 1959) First Swim
2 Susan Baddeley 26 hours 10 minutes 0 seconds (individual swim on August 7th 1960), First Female & Junior
3 Barry Watson 12 hours 40 minutes 30 seconds (August 26th 1967, shown above)
4 Kevin Murphy 15 hours 4 minutes 5 seconds (August 26th 1967)
5 Ron Kellerman 16 hours 51 minutes 0 seconds (individual swim on August 1969)
6 Michael Read 12 hours 13 minutes 30 seconds (August 29th 1971 Championship)
7 Stanley Birtley 18 hours 47 minutes 17 seconds (August 29th 1971 Championship)
8 Chris Carter 11 hours 39 minutes 0 seconds (August 29th 1976 Championship)
Michael Read 11 hours 51 minutes 0 seconds (August 29th 1976 Championship)
9 Peter Larrad 15 hours 44 minutes 0 seconds (August 29th 1976 Championship)
10 Suzanne Lodge 17 hours 28 minutes 0 seconds (August 29th 1976 Championship)
11 Peter Cox 17 hours 54 minutes 0 seconds (August 29th 1976 Championship)
Kevin Murphy 12 hours 53 minutes 50 seconds (individual swim on June 13th 1979)
12 David Morgan 11 hours 45 minutes 0 seconds (individual junior swim on August 3rd 1979)
David Morgan 10 hours 50 minutes 20 seconds (August 24th 1980 Championship)
13 Bruce Beckett 14 hours 24 minutes 57 seconds (August 24th 1980 Championship)
14 Paul Tew 15 hours 35 minutes 30 seconds (August 24th 1980 Championship)
15 Melanie Smith 20 hours 56 minutes 31 seconds (August 24th 1980 Championship)
16 Julie Bradshaw 12 hours 40 minutes 55 seconds (August 24th 1980 Championship)
17 Kevin McIntosh 20 hours 54 minutes 0 seconds (individual swim on August 7th 1981)
18 Elizabeth Horner 9 hours 39 minutes 34 seconds (individual swim on August 11th 1983)
19 Janet Wilson 17 hours 57 minutes 55 seconds (individual swim on August 26th 1984 2016)
20 Margaret Kidd 15 hours 22 minutes 15 seconds (August 29th 1987 Championship)
21 Sarah Hunt 10 hours 55 minutes 3 seconds (August 29th 1987 Championship)*
David Morgan 13 hours 30 minutes 4 seconds (August 29th 1987 Championship)
Kevin Murphy 13 hours 57 minutes 58 seconds (individual swim on August 27th 1988)
22 Rachael Godburn 10 hours 51 minutes 52 seconds (August 2nd 1992 Championship)
23 Peter Hawkesworth 17 hours 0 minutes 26 seconds (August 2nd 1992 Championship)
24 Paul Millett 16 hours 8 minutes 7 seconds (individual swim on August 5th 1997)
25 Dee Llewellyn 10 hours 37 minutes 52 seconds (August 2nd 1998 Championship)
Rachel Skelton 11 hours 27 minutes 10 seconds (August 2nd 1998 Championship)
Dee Llewellyn 10 hours 31 minutes 23 seconds (August 19th 2000 Championship)
26 Vicki Thompson 16 hours 9 minutes 58 seconds (August 19th 2000 Championship)
27 Simon Lee 10 hours 11 minutes 11 seconds (August 14th 2002 Championship)
28 Liane Llewellyn 10 hours 36 minutes 16 seconds (August 14th 2002 Championship)
Dee Llewellyn 10 hours 44 minutes 48 seconds (August 14th 2002 Championship)
Simon Lee 10 hours 38 minutes 0 seconds (July 31st 2004 Championship)
Dee Llewellyn 10 hours 0 minutes 2 seconds (July 31st 2004 Championship)
29 Laura Colette 11 hours 26 minutes 48 seconds (July 31st 2004 Championship)
30 Morag Hughes 15 hours 54 minutes 42 seconds (July 31st 2004 Championship)
31 Mark Blewitt 17 hours 50 minutes 24 seconds (July 31st 2004 Championship)
32 Tina Neill 11 hours 12 minutes 33 seconds (August 12th 2006 Championship)
33 Lee Portingale 12 hours 17 minutes 27 seconds (August 12th 2006 Championship)
34 Kevin Sanders 14 hours 44 minutes 5 seconds (August 12th 2006 Championship)
35 Jane Blinkhorn 15 hours 48 minutes 16 seconds (August 12th 2006 Championship)
36 Jane McCormick 11 hours 2 minutes 0 seconds (individual swim on August 24th 2006)
Liane Llewellyn 12 hours 15 minutes 57 seconds (August 16th 2008 Championship)
37 Robert Hodgson 17 hours 46 minutes 50 seconds (August 16th 2008 Championship)
38 Vanessa Hammond 12 hours 8 minutes 47 seconds (August 28th 2010 Championship)
39 Gerard (Gez) Lyon 16 hours 31 minutes 34 seconds (August 28th 2010 Championship)
40 Claire Bennison 14 hours 40 minutes 0 seconds (individual swim on August 4th 2011)
41 James Leitch 10 hours 17 minutes 38 seconds (individual swim on July 13th 2012)
James Leitch 10 hours 31 minutes 31 seconds (individual swim on August 9th 2012)
James Leitch 9 hours 14 minutes 47 seconds (individual swim on August 14th 2012) Fastest Swim
James Leitch 9 hours 16 minutes 32 seconds (August 26th 2012 Championship) Male Championship Record
42 Rebecca Lewis 9 hours 23 minutes 34 seconds (August 26th 2012 Championship) Female Championship Record
43 Guy Moar 11 hours 4 minutes 39 seconds (August 26th 2012 Championship)
Liane Llewellyn 11 hours 38 minutes 16 seconds (August 26th 2012 Championship)
44 Mark Sheridan 14 hours 44 minutes 28 seconds (August 26th 2012 Championship)
45 Caroline Lewis 15 hours 21 minutes 8 seconds (August 26th 2012 Championship)
46 Jo Norton-Barker 15 hours 49 minutes 0 seconds (August 26th 2012 Championship)
47 Alister Stocks 17 hours 23 minutes 26 seconds (August 26th 2012 Championship)
James Leitch 9 hours 19 minutes 23 seconds (individual swim on July 6th 2013)
James Leitch 12 hours 36 minutes 34 seconds (individual swim on August 25th 2013)
James Leitch 9 hours 57 minutes 18 seconds (individual swim on July 5th 2014)
48 David Dawson 12 hours 22 minutes 3 seconds (individual swim on August 12th 2014)
49 Philip Hodges 13 hours 1 minutes 7 seconds (August 24th 2014 Championship)
50 Adrian Rotchell 13 hours 53 minutes 53 seconds (August 24th 2014 Championship)
51 Morag Scott 15 hours 22 minutes 0 seconds (individual swim on August 17th 2015)
52 Jane Bell 17 hours 46 minutes 0 seconds (individual swim on August 1st 2016)
53 Sabrina Wiedmer 10 hours 38 minutes 28 seconds (August 21st 2016 Championship)
54 Helen Beveridge 15 hours 6 minutes 7 seconds (August 21st 2016 Championship)
55 Victoria Hamilton 15 hours 9 minutes 17 seconds (August 21st 2016 Championship)
56 Philip Yorke 16 hours 47 minutes 16 Breaststroke Record seconds (August 21st 2016 Championship)
57 Kathy Batts 18 hours 7 minutes 48 seconds (August 21st 2016 Championship)

The information above was painstakingly provided by Mark Sheridan (British Long Distance Swimming Association Honorary President), Zoe Sadler (British Long Distance Swimming Association Honorary Recorder), and Janet Wilson (British Long Distance Swimming Association Honorary Swim Secretary for Loch Lomond).

This list inclusive of swimmers who completed a solo swim across the length of Loch Lomond under British Long Distance Swimming Association rules took 18 months to compile, and verify and validate. The British Long Distance Swimming Association was formed in 1956 and many of the historical record was archived in various formats.

* successfully completed 7 years after her first attempt ended in a DNF after 15 miles.

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