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Hundreds at Christmas swim at Cheltenham Lido

By Michael_Yong  |  Posted: December 25, 2012

Christmas swim

Christmas swim

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MORE than 300 swimmers braved the cold winter freeze to make a splash at the annual Christmas swim at the Lido.

Egged on by nearly 200 supporters, the swimmers turned up at the outdoor pool in Keynsham Road to take the plunge, with a recorded water temperature of about 7C (44.6F).

Organisers said it was the biggest turn out they have had in recent years, as the swimmers stripped down to trunks and swimsuits.

Penny Farmer, 70, from Pennsylvania Avenue, Cheltenham, first took to the water 28 years ago, and has been doing the Christmas swim since then.

She added: "We had about six people when we first started. It has really grown! Look at all queuing here and the huge turnout. It's like Sainsbury's in here!"

Nic Houghton, 58, from Old Bath Road, had been doing the swim for the last 10 years. She said: "It was surprising how cold it really was.

"The water did not look that cold before I got in but it was freezing."

Danny Copeland, from Gloucester, was doing to swim to raise money for Gloucestershire Cave Rescue Group. He went in for more after the required one width, and said he had swam in colder temperatures.

He added: "It was reasonably cold, but it was quite a mild day anyway. It wasn't too bad, I have been in colder."

For first-timer Michael Bailey, from Gloucester, it was a case of dipping his toes. He had a warm bathrobe and mulled wine waiting for him at the end of the swim, coupled with a specialty cigar.

The 48-year-old said: "It was absolutely freezing. When I got in, I went half way and then had to walk the rest of the way.

"It was just so cold."

Lee Williams, 46, from Cheltenham called it a cure for a Christmas hangover.

He said: "It was exhilarating, a great cure for a hangover after all the drinking last night. The water temperature was more or less the same as last year, so it was alright."

Ron Coltman, director at the Lido, said: "It was a good swim, very successful.

"We had about 300 people here today, and about another 200 supporters, the biggest we ever had recently.

"We have had nothing but praise for this year's event, and I think there is a deserved well-done for all the swimmers today.

"The weather is slightly milder today, but I think it is still quite brave to jump into the pool."

See Thursday's Echo for all the pictures and the full story.

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