Hector Pardoe

Olympian Hector Pardoe swims length of Windermere in record-breaking time

In a remarkable feat of endurance, British Olympian Hector Pardoe has set a new record for the fastest swim of the length of Windermere

In a remarkable feat of endurance and determination, British Olympian Hector Pardoe has set a new record for the fastest swim from end to end of Windermere, solidifying his position as a rising star in the world of open-water swimming.

The 22-year-old’s remarkable achievement took place on Saturday 2 September, as he embarked on a gruelling swim of Windermere, the largest natural lake in England. Battling challenging conditions, pushing his physical limits and negotiating a busy lake, Pardoe completed the 10.5-mile (16.9 km) swim in an astonishing 3:40.28, smashing the previous record, set by Justin Palfrey in 1997, by eight minutes.

Hector Pardoe

“I am absolutely thrilled to have broken the Windermere end-to-end swim record. It was an intense challenge, but the stunning scenery and the support from my team and fans kept me motivated throughout,” said Pardoe. “This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and dedication I’ve put into my training. I hope to inspire others to pursue their dreams, no matter how daunting they may seem.”

Setting off just after a field of 500 participants in the Aquasphere Chillswim swim event from Fell Foot at the southern end of Windermere, Hector’s achievement was monitored by representatives of the BLDSA (British Long Distance Swimming Association) who administer the record for this swim.

The achievement was recognized and celebrated those swimmers who had achieved their own personal goal in completing the challenging swim and Hector hopes his accomplishment will inspire even more swimmers and outdoor enthusiasts to take on challenges that test their limits and showcase their talent.

Nick Holmes, Country Manager for event and athlete sponsor Aquasphere, said, “We have been supporting swimmers in achieving their own personal goals in the water for 25 years now and this was a special day to see 500 members of the public complete their own challenge at the same time as this amazing achievement by Britain’s top open water swimmer. I hope this inspires many more people to find their own swimming goal.”

Hector was also using the swim as an opportunity to raise funds for the Lake District Foundation to support projects to sustain its spectacular landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage. “As someone who competes in lakes, rivers and seas around the world, I am acutely aware of the impact of pollution of these bodies of water. I was really keen to support work to maintain the quality of water in the Lake District which is globally recognised for its amazing lakes, meres and tarns. I’m happy that I can draw attention to, and support the work that the Lake District Foundation do in this area.” Hector said ahead of the swim.

Images: Mick Hall Photography

Read our interview with Hector about his eye injury in Tokyo, and how he thinks elite open water swimming events could be improved.

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Abi writes swimming news stories and features for the Outdoor Swimmer website and manages the social media channels. She loves to swim, run, hike and SUP close to her home in Herefordshire. While she’s a keen wild swimmer, Abi is new to the world of open water events and recently completed her first open water mile. She has previously written for The Guardian, BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Ernest Journal.