Well that’s Torbay done for another year – a manic time of the year, that I absolutely love where some truly fantastic people swim 4 or 8 miles across the bay known as Torbay. This year’s event did have its ups and downs and was an extreme learning curve for me personally (even I have my limits). That being said, the standard of swimmers this year was truly extraordinary, with people travelling from the whole of the UK to take part.
This year’s swim was unfortunately tinted with a shortage of kayakers, but there was an overwhelming response through social media meaning most of our swimmers got a swim this year. Particular thanks must go to Hayley Barnard in this respect, who was a fantastic help and relieved some of the pressure on me in the week leading up to the swim. We will be putting in place fallbacks for next year so this doesn’t happen again and we don’t have 3 people not being able to swim (we did refund these in full and offer places free of charge on next years swim). The safety ribs as support couldn’t be used this year due to the rough weather, where controlling the rib at slow speed next to swimmer for 4 hours would have been a near impossible task.
The swim started off slightly delayed at 11:18 am from Meadfoot Beach, swimmers set off nervously heading for the other side of the bay. The start of Torbay is always interesting owing to the swimmer and kayaker having to find each other once the pack have moved off from land. Once the land crew and safety boats had established everybody was paired up – the atmosphere at Meadfoot Beach becomes a bit more relaxed. The swim secretary even found time to disappear off round Shag Rock for half an hour while the swimmers were battling it out in the middle of the bay.
We always say to people entering this event, the swim will leave you prepared for whatever challenge you’ve set yourself. The 2018 swim proved no exception, with strong winds blowing straight into the bay, leaving swimmers exposed to the elements and waves constantly battering them. This meant it was a real achievement to reach the 4 mile turn around buoy at Fishcombe Cove, since the first leg was, without a doubt, the most difficult part of the swim.
No. 32, Steven Adams, was first around the turn buoy in an impressive time of 1 hour 32 mins 35 secs and then closely followed by Matthew Cockill just over a minute later. These two battled it out for the whole of the return journey back to Meadfoot with Steven Adams triumphing and winning the event in 3 hrs 30 mins 4 secs. Matthew Cockill still not far behind in a time 3 hrs 32 mins 22 secs – a true privilege to witness and fantastic sportsmen.
Sian post swim!
Torbay of course would not happen without the band of volunteers, who did an amazing job as always. Particular thanks needs to be paid to my right hand woman, race controller Louise Barber, who took everything in her stride and was a joy to work with. The lovely Sara Marley (who many of you probably met at registration), came all the way from London to help out and was also out at Fishcombe Bay marking your turn times/4 mile finish times. Samantha Poulsen, like Sara from the awesome Red Tops, who was a massive help landside and who you probably got marked up by. Then there was Teresa Roberts (my long suffering Mother), who ticked all of the kayakers in on the slip way. Past presidents of the BLDSA, Jean Wilkin-Oxley and Janet Wilson, did a fantastic job giving out first aid and always a joy to have down. Chris Hickling, thanks to an Irish Dancing related injury, was also landside providing excellent communication between us and the safety guys out on the water! And a huge thank you to our army of kayakers who provided excellent support! Without these guys, Torbay simply wouldn’t take place.
Thanks must also go to Dan Jepson, for his fantastic photography and video of the swim – one of my favorite parts of the process waiting to see what Dan has put together and this year he’s not disappointed! Check out Dan’s youtube channel for more of his work – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXdbeISbEqCPbiUb9BZ4ZkA
FInally thanks to Mark ‘Shezza’ Sheridan for all the support and helping with the presentations!
A huge well done to all who took part and thank you so much for coming to Torbay – see you in July 2019!
See below for results, photos and T-shirt orders 🙂
All the best,
British Long Distance Swimming Association