It's a winning 40th birthday in Lake Windermere for adventurous swimmer

RICHARD Leighton took the plunge on a 40th birthday he’ll never forget.
DONE IT! Richard Leighton with support paddler Stevie Kent.DONE IT! Richard Leighton with support paddler Stevie Kent.
DONE IT! Richard Leighton with support paddler Stevie Kent.

He tackled the Windermere One Way, a ten-mile swim of Lake Windermere described as “proper bucket list stuff”.

In only his second ever open water swim, Richard won the event, completing the distance in 4 hours 19 minutes 16 seconds.

He has so far raised more than £1,500 for cystic fibrosis research through his efforts.

His best mate, Stevie Kent, canoed alongside him along with 80 other competitors.

Richard said: “It was an amazing experience, very challenging, and it was in quite difficult conditions. It was extremely windy.

"Not only was in raising money for a really good cause, to win made it extra special.”

The Windermere One Way Swim is unique in that every swimmer has their own support paddler. This makes sure every participant has the best swim possible with full safety cover and personalised feed stops.

It is also one of the toughest open water swimming events on the UK calendar and Richard relished the challenge despite the wind and rain on the day.

"In all honesty, it wasn’t too cold,” he added.

“It was was 17 or 18 degrees, quite a good temperature to swim in, but the wind didn’t help. The rain didn’t affect us too much. It was worse for the spectators.

"Of course it was a lovely way to celebrate my birthday and my family were there to see and it was great having there at the end.”

Richard has been training for the event since the turn of the year with Rotherham Metro water polo coach Pete Roebuck.

The swimmer also coaches Metro swimmers and young water polo players on Sundays at Maltby Leisure Centre.

Richard was back in the water last weekend, earning his qualifying time for the National Age Group 50m

He’ll be involved in the National Masters at the end of October at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

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