Derbyshire Dales Ramblers Swimming TeamFinish 2016 in Triumph

Sue Weatherley

2016 has proved to be the most successful year yet for the Derbyshire Dales Ramblers Swimming Team (DDRST) with two medals being won at the British Winter Swimming Association event in December.The sport of swimming has diversified over the last few years in the same way as sports like cycling and skiing. There are now special classificationsincluding wild swimming, open water swimming and winter swimming. The DDRST takes part in all these disciplines and in the autumn two members, Judy Allsop and Sue Weatherley, qualified for the Big Chill Swim inWindermere. This is the British event in the International Winter Swimming Association 2016/17 season. This year a thousand swimmers took part including teams from all over the world. Winter swimming takes place in open water and no wet suits are allowed.

This year the water in Windermere was 7.3 degrees, this is in fact slightly warmer than might have been expected due to the mild autumn weather. A member of the Finnish team commented that the water ‘was not that cold. We were just in Vladivostok and the water was zero degrees there’. Our team had extensive training throughout the autumn as water temperatures dropped, the training venue was Little Barbrook Reservoir which has proved to be an ideal location.

The event took place on 10 December and the team went up to the Lake District the day before to get in a last minute practice swim. This took place outside Ambleside Youth Hostel and allowed the Team to meet other swimmers for the first time. A member of the Russian Team came to observe our swimmers practising and later a team from Sheffield got intothe water followed by a strong French Team. Each swimmer does their event once in a series of heats and the timings from these are calculated to determine the results when medals are awarded according to age categories. Judy and Sue swam in the same 30 metres breast stroke race, though in fact they were not in the same age category. Judy was very successful producing a career best time to win a silver medal. Sue was up against a much larger and stronger field and despite doing a season’s best time was only able to manage 4th place and so missed out on a medal. Sue was able to recover from this disappointment in time for her second event, the 60 metres free style. Admittedly this was in a much smaller field, however, she was delighted to finish in a gold medal winning first place.

If anyone is interested in the full details the results for the whole event are available on the Big Chill Swim website, if you care to look you will see that there are many foreign names among the medallists as this is a truly international event.


Sue and Judy are shown here relaxing after the event. They are slowly getting used to their new status as celebrities and, while still fully committed to a regular training programme, are willing to make themselves available for personal appearances.


Derbyshire Dales Group