British veteran Paul Smith finished the 1 km race at the Big Chill Swim Winter Swimming Gala in 14 minutes 8 seconds, only 18 seconds behind the renowned Henri Kaarma in the 6.4ºC (43.5ºF) water temperatures of Windermere, England.
Smith, living and swimming out of Nottingham, was a competitive age-group swimming in the 1970s.
“I came to open water swimming in 2008,” explains Smith. It was his third comeback to the sport of swimming.
“I was a useful club age-grouper back in the 1970s.
I swam at Oxford in the mid-late 1980s to get my blue, then decided to get back into shape in 2008.”
Smith understands his preferred niche. “I’m not really a marathon swimmer – more a middle-distance swimmer at 5 km and 10 km, though I’ve swum further in Windermere in 2013 in a little over 5 hours. I train locally at Stoney Cove Diving Centre, near Leicester, largely because it’s open all day and has beautiful clear water. I prefer lake and river swimming.”
He gave a hint of his cold water abilities in the 2013 Windermere crossing. “I gave up wearing a wetsuit about five minutes before that swim, on September 1st 2013. I’ve swum the Dart 10k four times and in September I will go for a fifth trip.”
Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association