Lang Wins at Ullswater
On Saturday 19th August Exmouth Swimming & Life Saving Society swimmer Ian Lang and kayaker Jordan Hamilton were stood on the end of Ullswater in the Lake District waiting to swim its 7 mile length. It was 7.30 in the morning and the weather was less than desirable for a long swim with heavy showers and mist coming down from the Fells. Getting in to swim around the corner of the Steamer launch to the start line was a challenge in itself with the water cold enough to take your breath away and making the sea around East Devon where Lang has trained seem tropical in comparison.
Once the swim was under way Lang swam away from his competitors in the men’s race and had a comfortable swim for the first half an hour or so in flat calm conditions; then the pair rounded the first headland. From this point forward a strong wind blew from behind them down and across the lake threatening to blow them off course. The conditions were particularly challenging for Hamilton in the kayak who had to stay close enough to keep his swimmer on course whilst not colliding with him or capsizing in the waves being created.
Lang continued swimming through tough conditions overtaking all the swimmers who started an hour before in an earlier wave. After an hour and two hours Lang stopped to feed and drink a sports drink whilst treading water. In the third hour the conditions took their toll with Lang tiring but able to see the end of the lake which didn’t seem to be getting any closer. The swim had become a mental challenge as well as physical particularly with the onset of cramp. Lang battled on and the sight of the finishing buoy half a mile ahead was a welcome one. At this point Hamilton paddled away from Lang to encourage one last effort from Lang who finished the swim in a time of 3hr 15min, roughly 20minutes ahead of the next male swimmer home, to win the British Long Distance Swimming Association’s Ullswater men’s title.