All at sea? Cormorants are quite at home thanks...

Cormorants at their open water swim
Cormorants at their open water swim

There’s nothing strange about seeing a cormorant in the sea – except these were not the birds that can famously swim faster than a fish, but members of Chichester Cormorants Swimming Club.

These racers are more used to competition pools than the open ocean, and with a sea temperature of around 17C there were a few sharp intakes of breath as the swimmers entered the water.

The open water summer series is designed as a taster of this kind of competition, and many of the swimmers had never raced in the sea before.

The youngest was eight-year-old Isla Hill, who did brilliantly to complete the 400-metre course for 11-and-under swimmers. At the other end of the age and distance range were swimmers from the club’s masters section, who raced 1,400m.

As the first race got under way, all the open-water skills practising the swimmers have been doing in the indoor pool began to pay off. The winner of the open race, Adam Long, was particularly quick.

In all about 40 Cormorants swam in this first event, which is part of a points series with prizes sponsored by Wittering Surf Shop. The races have been made possible by the support of the West Wittering Estate, particularly the expert back-up of head lifeguard

The youngest was eight-year-old Isla Hill, who did brilliantly to complete the 400-metre course for 11-and-under swimmers.

Natalie Dobson and her team. With more swimmers already asking to enter race two, the series seems to be off to

a flying start.

Race One winners: 11-and-under, Mitchell Newell (boys), Florence Ingram (girls); 12-13 age group, George Gibbens (boys), Lauren Smith (girls); 14-16 age group, Olivia Spink (girls); Open category, Adam Long (male), Jane West (female).