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500 people took to the water at the inaugural Exmoor Open Water Swim at Wimbleball Lake on Sunday.

Exmoor Open Water Swim In this first event ever of its kind at Wimbleball, the weather played ball as more women than men swam the single loop lap of this magnificent reservoir.

Mike Morris Event director says: ‘Open Water swimming is a massive growth activity and it is so great to see kids aged 12 swimming with 70 year olds – we are so grateful for South West Lakes Trust to allow us to put on the event.’

Top GB athletes competed in an elite wave followed by the masses who included seasoned open water swimmers and first timers. Entrants could choose between the 2km and 4km course and about 50 kayakers from Bideford and Exmoor Canoe Clubs plus 5 safety boats ensured that all entrants were well looked after.

1st place in the men’s 4km went to Channel Swimmer Nils Young from London with a stunning time of 51 minutes and 31 seconds, beating Mark Richards from Bristol by 30 seconds. They swam side by side for the whole race both having tacitly decided not to draft each other, with Young edging ahead in the last 800m  An Enjoyable swim in a stunning location’ says Young. A big yet really friendly event – definitely back to defend my title next year!’

Vikki Thompson from Exeter took gold in the women’s 4km, with a time of 53 minutes 40 seconds, giving her 3rd position overall.

The surprise of the day was the winner of the 2km: Oliver Heard who is only aged 12 and is fresh from breaking the record on completion of the Solent Swim on 17th September 2017.

The women’s 2km was taken by Kathryn Saddler from Exeter. 2nd place was another 12 year old pupil from Taunton School: Macey Barrett.

There were also about 40 non wetsuit swimmers who braved the elements including GB former International Swimmer, Londoner, Nuala Muir-Cochrane who took gold in her category.

It was also a pleasure to welcome Giles Long MBE, one of the most successful Paralympic swimmer of our time to hand out medals and prizes.

In excess of £20,000 has been raised for charity from The Exmoor Open Water Swim and its sister event The Croyde Ocean Triathlon. Money went to Children’s Hospice South West, the Red Cross, RNLI, the Syrian Refugees and Surfers Against Sewage.

All results and photos can be found at there are also video clips of everyone who crossed the finish line. 


The event was a sell out and is set to double in size next year. Next year. Exmoor Open Water Swim in association with The Pickwell Trust will take Place on 29/09/18. With on line entries soon to be available at


A big thanks to all the volunteers including the Rotary Club, Childrens Hospice South West, Exmoor Canoe Club, Bideford Canoe Club and all the other and a massive thanks to our sponsors: Dryrobe, Alpine Elements, Exmoor Gin, Discover Chocolate and Zoggs UK,


Picture credit: Howaboutdave Photography