The Sid Levy cup, sponsored by Nick and Sakura Adams

John Tierney first home on a beautiful early summer morning

800m (880 yards) in memory of Sid Levy, our centenary President and a valued member for over sixty years.

Nick was working, so it was left to the remainder of the Adams family to present the cup and prizes.

John Tierney took home the silverware, followed by John Luckhurst, Jamal Saad and Alice Moore.

Nick and Sakura have sponsored the race since 2011

Nick and Sakura have sponsored the race since 2011

John Tierney, 2022 victor. The cup was presented by one Channel swimmer to another.

Sid Levy, a very strong breaststroker, joined the club in 1923 and was President during our 1964 Centenary year

Sid Levy, a very strong breaststroker, joined the club in 1923 and was President during our 1964 Centenary year

Winter, 1954

Sid joined in 1923 and faithfully served the club for over 60 years, celebrating his membership diamond jubilee in 1983.  In 1955, following the death of Albert Greenbury the Club's President for twenty years, the committee decided to limit the number of years served in office. A term of three years was instigated and agreed with great political skill and foresight by Sid, whose presidential term quite “coincidentally” covered the club’s centenary year in 1964.  Perhaps Sid’s nous stemmed from being a long-serving representative on Holborn borough council.  Whilst on the council Sid was instrumental in ensuring the post war resurrection of the project build what became the Oasis swimming pool on the site of what was "Holborn Baths" -  development of the project started in 1937 but was halted by WW2.

We were greeted by blue sky and blue water

We were greeted by blue sky and blue water

Sakura was joined by Chloe, Ben and Seb plus Poppy the pointer to present the cup and prizes.  The Adams family needed no introduction, though President Rob spoke of Nick and Sakura's valued contribution to the club.  Nick's decades-long experience of Marathon swimming combined with Sakura's medical experience and research regarding cold water swimming has provided huge benefit to both the club and to the wider open water swimming community.

Nick joined the club in 1992 whilst Sakura is a relative newbie, signing up in 2002

Nick joined the club in 1992, aged 14 and has proved to be one of the UK's most formidable long-distance swimmers, completing numerous Channel crossings and many other amazing swims -  Catalina Channel (California), Robben Island (South Africa), Strait of Gibraltar, Manhattan Island (New York) circumnavigation to name but a few.  Nick was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2013.

Sakura joined us in 2002 whilst studying medicine at Imperial College.  She was captain of the IC swimming team under coach Norman Jones.  With such a coach Sakura had no option but to agree to swim with us in the Serpentine, come wind, rain and shine.  The waters of the Serpentine gave Sakura the long-distance bug and in 2005 swam the Channel in a very respectful 11 hrs 08 mins.  Like Nick, Sakura has also completed the 28.5 mile Manhattan circumnavigation, Catalina Channel (20 miles), Strait of Gibraltar (9 miles) amongst other achievements.  Sakura has also completed a number of marathons and the Bolton Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle, 13.1 mile run) which Sakura described as "tougher than the English Channel".

Nick and Sakura were bought together by a love of long-distance swimming.  Their August 2013 wedding by pure coincidence (?) coincided with the 138th anniversary of the day Captain Matthew Webb left Dover to become the first to swim the English Channel -  24 August 1875.

Rob enlightened us on Sakura's cold water swimming research.

Rob enlightened us on Sakura's cold water swimming research.

The research involved monitoring the core body temperature of a number of Serpentine volunteers under strict cold water laboratory conditions. Rob went into great, intimate detail with respect to how the core temperature is actually measured, much to the amusement of the gathered masses (though Will Luckhurst, bottom right, did not seem over impressed).

Big hug for second place John (Lucky) Luckhurst

Big hug for second place John (Lucky) Luckhurst

Jamal and Alice, third and fourth

Jamal and Alice, third and fourth

More background

For more background on Nick and Sakura's swimming history and also on Sid's sixty-plus years with the club please follow this link to the 2021 report.  The article also contains reference to Fred Houghton, a previous Hon. Handicapper, and other historic club swimmers dating back to the Edwardian era.

http://serpentineswimmingclub.com/news/51103/sidney-levy-half-mile-5-june-2021

Late autumn, 1925. Sid first on the left.

Late autumn, 1925. Sid first on the left.

(report compiled by Brian Thomas)