Clevedon Long Swim has been running since 1928, skipping only the war years and 2020. It’s changed a bit: swimmers used to jump from a boat and swim upstream on an incoming tide. The finish line was the Pier, the winner picked out by sharp eyed judges peering down from above. They had to be rescued by boat, the earliest and fastest on the faster waters inevitably being carried some way upstream. The increasing popularity of the swim; shortage of rescue boats and boats to jump out of; the collapse of the Pier in 1970 (saved by monumental effort and now restored); modern day finicky ideas regarding health and safety and that nobody should be lost at sea… have shaped the event into the version we now have, which is downstream on an outgoing tide, from Ladye Bay, under the Pier to the beach.
The Long Swim continues to be run thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of lots of volunteers, but notably by Gav Price, middle distance, right, with the loud hailer (looking more like an ageing rocker than is strictly the case, sorry Gav!). Meanwhile, Hilary is taking her Safety Officer job very seriously and quite rightly demanding to know where the timing chip is of an individual who seems to be stuck in his own wetsuit, and not taking anything seriously.
Behind them, Jo Swim has just victoriously reached the beach… I couldn’t possibly put in everyone I know or recognised, so if anyone sees themselves in the picture: it’s you, definitely, consider it you! Mary… was not there, however as she has pointed out on a number of occasions, this should be no impediment to featuring in a drawing, so there is a teeny weeny Mary in the sea, far left, because Mary.
And, this being a race (to those at the front), there were two winners. I haven’t specifically drawn Katie Chambers and Phil Duma, but I have put in their silverware! The 1928 Clevedon Long Swim women’s Rose Bowl and the men’s Oakhill Brewery trophy are in the foreground.
And that was Clevedon Long Swim.
I didn’t even swim! But I was there, handing out timing chips at registration.
A fantastic day and a drawing long overdue.
Clevedon Long Swim prints are now in my shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WaterDrawnArt