H2Open, the world’s only dedicated open water swimming magazine, have announced the winners of the inaugural H2Open Awards at a ceremony forming the final activity of the H2Open Day event at the Reading Lake Hotel.
The winners included David Walliams, who won the ‘Charity Swim of the Year’ award for his epic 140 mile Thames swim, and Roger Allsopp (pictured in the middle), who collected the ‘Inspirational Swim of the Year’ award after becoming the oldest person ever to swim the English Channel last September.
Walliams, who couldn’t attend the ceremony as he was out of the country filming, was represented by Stephen Meadows of Comic Relief, who project managed the Thames swim.
Meadows read out a statement from Walliams, who thanked the thousands of supporters who lined the Thames and gave so generously to his campaign as that helped maintain his motivation through the swim.
Allsopp, from Guernsey, attended the ceremony in person and received his trophy from Cassandra Patten (pictured on the left), bronze medallist in the 10km marathon swim in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Earlier in the day he demonstrated his fortitude by taking part in a 750m swim in the lake around the hotel. He was one of only a handful of participants who braved the 12 degree water without a wetsuit.
Other winners of the Awards, which were created in partnership with events company Triathlon Racing Inc and designed to celebrate achievements in open water swimming, included Colin Hill, Ambassador of the Year, Oliver Wilkinson, Swimmer of the Year and Bernd Berkhahn, Coach of the Year.
As well as the trophies, all the individual winners were awarded VIP entries to the British Gas Great North Swim.
Nova International, organiser of the British Gas Great Swim series, picked up the prize for Best UK Event, while the Lorne Pier to Pub, a 1.2km sea swim in Australia won ‘Best International Event’.
The final award, ‘Innovation of the Year’ went to swim equipment specialist Finis for their AquaPulse, a device that clips to the earlobe and monitors a swimmer’s heart rate.
Lizzie Flint, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine