Sudbury four among only 20 to finish dramatic Southwold swim

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The open water season got under way for Sudbury Masters with a dramatic start after the Southwold swim saw 70 competitors have to be rescued.

Due to the strong tides, the race was delayed by 30 minutes and this was probably one of the toughest swims the Masters have ever completed.

Of the 120-plus swimmers that entered, only 20 are reported to have completed the 1,200-metre course.

Dr Gordon Coutts was the first of the Sudbury swimmers to finish — fourth overall — in a time that he would normally cover 3,000 metres in.

He was closely followed by Stuart McLellen and Terry Mansi. Graham King swam ashore 200m from the finish as he was making little headway at the final turn buoy, so erred on the side of safety.

All the Sudbury swimmers would like to express their thanks to the RNLI and the local emergency services for ensuring all swimmers were safely accounted for and offer their support to the organisers for future events.

Before Southwold, the first Sudbury Master to open the season was King, who coincided his 50th birthday treat to the Lake District and the Keswick mountain festival with the Derwent Island swim.

It was undertaken during low cloud and very heavy rain. This, coupled with very low temperatures, forced the organisers to use a shorter 750-metre course, which allowed for closer monitoring of swimmers and the option to stop after one lap.

King completed the two laps in a respectable 29 minutes.