Ollie passes French Test

Ollie Bitowt returned from the summer having gained some valuable experience in Open Water swimming as part of the GBR Talent team. The first event was a 2.4 km race in Sete in the South of France.

The 150 strong field of both men and women started in the sea and then came inland down the canal to finish in the town. Ollie was 5th overall and 3rd in his age group. The group then trained 3 times a day in both pool and sea for a week in Grimauld before finally competing in the 5 km swim in Redon in Brittany in a field of 70 men. Ollie came 5th again and 2nd in his age group.

Commenting on the experience, Ollie stated “I have been really surprised at how different and tactical the swimming is in open water. Obviously because there are no lane ropes everyone is swimming on top of each other throughout the race – you need to be quite assertive to make sure you don’t get pushed to the back. The starts are very busy sometimes with over 100 swimmers setting off at once - so far my tactic has been to break out as fast as possible to avoid getting caught in the middle of the pack. I love the sea swimming despite the jelly fish and seaweed and in the rivers it’s not unusual to knock into a fish or two. I will definitely be doing more Open Water swims this year and plan to take part in the British Gas Great Swim series in the Elite swimmer race.”