|Great River Swim renews ancient Thames tradition|
Swimmers brave the river to compete for the Pissarro's Trophy
The 2nd Annual Great River Swim off Corney Reach earlier this month attracted a significant number of competitors and competition was fierce. The event which is sponsored by nearby restaurant Pissarro's on the River is held over 500m and this year the water temperate was a relatively comfortable 20 degrees centigrade.
swim was once again held in the dying minutes of the flood tide before
the flotilla of boats taking part in the Great River Race from Richmond
to Greenwich came sweeping down past Chiswick Pier.
is reviving a venerable tradition of swimming races in the Thames. Sponsor
Dick Gilliver said, "We have evidence that the race was inaugurated
in 1907 when they swam from Richmond to Blackfriars. It apparently was
an annual event for a number of years. An old man who remembers the race
has given us some press cuttings and a picture of a female winner - quite
rare in those days I suspect." There are some suggestions that races
also tool place in the Thames in the 19th century.
Swimming races in the tidal Thames are not a recent innovation. Between 1907 and 1939 races were held annually over a 15 mile course from Richmond to Blackfriars.
have been held above Teddington earlier this year. The South London Swimming
Club (based at Tooting Bec Lido) held a mile swim from Kingston Bridge
recently and further upstream the Royal Windsor Triathlon included a 1500m
swim in the Thames. Organisers may try to incorporate a swim into Chiswick
Pier Day next summer if the date and time of high tide are both convenient.