Rain definitely didn’t stop play at the Henley Club to Pub Swim on 22 July, as 520 swimmers took to the Thames, despite the day’s heavy rainfall and dark skies. Happily, the weather improved in time for the 7.00 pm start, so competitors were able to complete the 1.5km course in fair conditions and enjoy a bottle of Brakspear’s Two Bells commemorative beer as a reward at the end.
The swim, now in its fourth year, has been supported by Brakspear since its start; in addition to providing beer, the end of the course is Brakspear’s Angel on the Bridge, which hosts a post-swim party for all finishers and spectators.
This year, Two Bells beer was on tap in the Angel and other Brakspear pubs in Henley, with 10p per pint sold going to Sue Ryder, Henley Swim’s charity partner, raising a total of £122. In addition, a competition at the Angel, with customers donating £1 to guess the number of fish-shaped sweets in a jar, raised £152.
Top place in this year’s swim went to Richard Stannard with an impressive time of 17 minutes 12 seconds, while the fastest woman home was Dawn Palmer in 20 minutes 20 seconds. Sixteen teams of four people also competed this year, with Reading Sc Men taking top place with a total time of 1hr 21 minutes.
Mayor of Henley Kellie Hinton watched the race and, with Councillor David Eggleton, presented medals – which cleverly doubled as bottle openers for the Two Bells – to the finishers as they reached the Angel on the Bridge.
Brakspear marketing manager Emma Sweet said, “Despite, or maybe because of, the unpromising weather, there was a great atmosphere at this year’s Club to Pub Swim and competitors and friends stayed on at the Angel to celebrate.
“This swim is a very inclusive one and it’s great to see people of all ages taking part, many of them completing their first open water event. We’re proud to be part of such a popular fixture in our home town, and delighted to have raised such a good sum of money for Sue Ryder.”
She added, “We’re planning to field a Brakspear team in next year’s swim – and we’re expecting Henley Town Council to do the same, after Mayor Hinton gamely accepted our challenge on Saturday!”
For full results on the Club to Pub Swim, visit http://henleyswim.com/henley-swim-results-2017/