A RECORD has been smashed with nearly 700 swimmers descending on Coniston Water to participate in a chilly challenge.

Swimmers from all corners of the county and beyond and ranging from long distance open swimmers to Olympic medallists, and everything in between, braved strong winds, which had initially forced a delayed start, and embraced water temperatures as low as 16 degrees for the Chillswim Coniston event.

On Saturday contestants started the 5.25 mile route from the southern tip of the lake to finish at Monk Coniston at the northern end of the water.

The event is open to both wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers but this year around 20 per cent of the participants chose to swim in ‘skins’.

There was a hat-trick of wins for Sean Wylie, of Hexham, aged 22, who defended his title for another year as the fastest swimmer of the day and finished the challenging course in 1-50-37

The fastest lady was 26-year-old Jennifer Wilson, of West Sussex, who finished in 2-7-40.

In the non-wetsuit category, first man was Chillswim ambassador and Howtown resident Colin Hill of in 2-07-37 and first lady was Emma Klimowicz, from Leicester, in 2-29-44.

Joe Kerrigan, from Merseyside, participating for the fourth time in the event was the most senior finisher and completed the course in three hours at the grand age of 80 years.

Mr Hill said: ”We have a great team of staff and volunteers without whom none of this would be possible and many of them have supported us since year one back in 2013.”

Full support is provided to the swimmers including transport to the start and from the finish, as well as water safety and feed stations.

Entries for the 2020 Chillswim Coniston are available.

Go to chillswim.com to book a place.