Felixstowe port worker wins 4.5km Welsh swim

Jeremy Clipstone waits to board the train for the swim in Lake Bala

Jeremy Clipstone waits to board the train for the swim in Lake Bala - Credit: SUFFOLK COASTAL PORT HEALTH AUTHORITY

A Suffolk port worker is floating on cloud nine after beating nearly 150 competitors to win a swimming competition across a Welsh lake. 

Jeremy Clipstone, who works at Felixstowe, completed the 4.5km swim across Bala Lake in Wales in one hour, 16 minutes and 23 seconds to win the Big Bala Swim 2022 organised by the outdoor swimming and running company Love SwimRun. 

He spoke of his surprise at discovering he had won the race. 

He said: “I was very surprised to see I finished in first place, but only 90 swimmers had finished by that point. Nonetheless, I felt I achieved my goal and came in the top 10, or even top five.   

“However, as time went on and more swimmers arrived, I remained in first position. When the awards presentation began, I checked the times and couldn’t believe I was number one.” 

The ICT team supervisor at Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority is no stranger to fitness and competed in triathlons for 11 years as a sergeant in the Royal Air Force, while he was also the British Army of the Rhine’s orienteering champion for two years in a row. 

He said: “Fitness is a big part of my life which has been instilled in me since I was in the armed services.”   

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Mr Clipstone also had to overcome difficulties with his wetsuit which he was using for only the second time. 

He said: “This was just the second time I swam in my new wetsuit, which could have caused serious chafing issues after long periods in open water and was a schoolboy error.   

“Fortunately, I made it through unscathed, and was pleasantly surprised to learn I came first, as I hadn’t competed in a large event for some time.”

He swam for three hours a week in preparation and cycled for 10 hours a week, as well as taking part in an open water swim. 

Entrants rode the historic Bala Lake Railway steam train along the shores of Bala Lake, also known as Llyn Tegid, where they took in the vast distance before setting off on the beach.   

The swimmers had to cover 4.5km at any point within a four-and-a-half-hour window and were ranked by the total amount of time they took.