Sunday 20 August 2017

Records tumble at bog snorkelling

Record numbers of people went bog snorkelling in Wales
Record numbers of people went bog snorkelling in Wales

A record number of swimmers braved the murky waters of a peat bog today to contest the 25th World Bog Snorkelling Championships.

Crowds of spectators and 163 competitors from around the world, some in fancy dress, descended on Waen Rhydd Bog on the outskirts of Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, mid Wales.

Winner Dan Morgan, from Brecon, beat the previous best time by almost eight seconds when he swam two lengths of a 55-metre (180ft) trench in one minute 30.66 seconds.

Run by a team of volunteers, the annual competition is part of a roster of eccentric events held throughout the year at Llanwrtyd Wells, the UK's smallest town.

It also hosts the Man Versus Horse Marathon and a bog snorkelling triathlon, which includes a seven and a half mile run and a 19-mile bike ride, as well as two lengths of the infamous bog.

John Crompton, one of the organisers, said: "It was a good turnout. Everyone had a good time. The weather was pretty miserable to start with. It was wet and rainy and the rain was coming down horizontally. By the end of the day it brightened up."

The same two trenches are used every year, but Mr Crompton said their dark water does not harbour any dangers for swimmers.

"There are fish in it. They sometimes come up to the surface when people are there," he said. "Lots of insects and plant life. Water scorpions sound pretty scary, but they aren't. There's nothing poisonous in Wales."

Asked about the secret of the event's growing popularity, he said: "The potential of being a world champion at something, I suppose.

"There's not many things you can be world champion at without any preparation, you can just jump in and swim."

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