Saturday saw the second year of the Swim Serpentine open water event, with more than 5,000 entrants from 27 different countries taking on a variety of distances from half-a-mile to six miles.
Much like last year, Berkhamsted SC member Mark Strakosch entered the one-mile event.
The course was a straightforward rectangle, going east-west along its long side and the start/finish was in the middle of the north, long side.
Mark was in the first wave and was about 20th into the water. After an initial mad dash at the beginning, the cold water made it feel like his body was shutting down with all energy being taken away by the cold. By the time they reached the east turn, he was up to fifth.
Along the long south side he made it up into second place and by the west end turn, could see the leader getting bigger so he knew he was catching up.
Along the finishing straight he did not quite manage to get up to the leader but in the results he was credited with first in the wave so even though the swimmer ahead was first out of the water, he started before Mark.
His final time was 23:30 (last year 22:39) for 11th overall (19th last year) out of all the waves, second in his age group.
He was first in his wave by some eight seconds.
Whether the colder 15 degrees water (it was 18 degrees last year) made the field go slower Mark is not quite sure, but it’s a possibility.