The GB open water swimming team took full advantage of last week’s BEST FEST open water swimming festival at theBEST Swim Centre in Mallorca to pack in some hard training and essential racing experience.
Three of the eight swims on offer over the week comprised the Colonia Classic Series. These were raced over 5k, 7k and 1.5k with series winner prizes of €500.
Daniel Fogg has been in the open water swimming game a long time. In 2012 he finished fifth in the Olympic marathon swim. He knows what he’s doing – or at least he should do – but he was caught out twice by the beach finishes at BEST FEST.
In the 5k, after leading the swim onto the beach he stopped before running under the finish arch and was overtaken by Jack Burnell and Caleb Hughes. Then, in the 7k, perhaps anxious to avoid the same mistake, he stumbled as he ran out of the water and ended up face down in the sand, again ending up in third place. By the third race he’d learned his lesson and won, but that still left Hughes to take the overall prize and Burnell in second.
The women’s elite race was much more straightforward with Keri-anne Payne comfortably finishing first every time and collecting maximum points. Danielle Huskisson was second each time and Philippa Shuttleworth third.
But BEST FEST isn’t just about elite swimming though and there were plenty of prizes for junior and more senior swimmers – and plenty of fantastic swimming for everyone regardless of speed.
“One of the highlights for me was the attitude, determination and enjoyment shown by all our non-elite swimmers across all ages and abilities,” says James Bainbridge, one of the organisers. “It’s these swimmers that really make BestFest what it is. Whether chasing times or swimming purely for pleasure, the sea of happy faces after each race or challenge swim makes all the hard work of organising eight events in seven days worthwhile.”
BEST FEST is now in its third year and already has an attractive format combining hard racing with more leisurely sight-seeing swimming but the organisers promise there is more to come:
“We’re already planning 2016, including some new events and possibly a 10k thrown in for good measure,” says Bainbridge.