Mike Olizar repeated his victory of 25 years ago to win the 2022 Bridge to Bridge

First in, first out. Mike Olizar was first away on the handicap and stayed in front from start to finish.

Another beautifully sunny Saturday saw long term club members Sir Anthony and Lady Cleaver present the Dave Milne cup to the winner of our summer Blue Ribbon event.

Mike Olizar notched up a second Bridge to Bridge victory, having won the race a quarter of a centrury ago.

Vanessa Marshall was second, followed by Anne Mannix.

Blue sky, blue water, and blue rowing boats to negotiate half way along the course

Blue sky, blue water, and blue rowing boats to negotiate half way along the course

A big thank you from the club to the safety team for the morning's event - led by Sean from the Lido and Esme from the boat house. A big thank you also to The Royal Parks for the loan of the safety boats. (photo: Mike Harris)

A 1,000 yard long blue ribbon

In the early years of the club a non-handicapped Bridge to Bridge race was used to decide the club Captain.  Harry Coulter was the first such race winner and thus club Captain from 1864 until the spell was broken in 1869 when T Morris successfully won the race and captaincy.  Coulter's 1864 winning time was 20 minutes and 10 seconds.  Harry Coulter was a swimmer of national standard, having come second to the great Harry Gurr in a "Champion of England race".  An indication of how technique, training and thus ability has improved is that the current club record for the Bridge to Bridge was established in 2011 by Cameron Kelly with a time of 12 minutes and 42 seconds.  

Since its inception in the mid 19th century the race has always been billed as 1000 yards.  That said, we now start nearly 25 yards away from the Dell Bridge and finish at the chain about 25 yards short of  Rennes Bridge.  Taking account of these deductions the distance could be better described as 950 yards (870m).  Mind you, with all the zig zagging around the moored rowing boats, let alone fiesty swans, geese, ducks and coots the club can still claim that we have a "1000 yard long" blue ribbon.

Triumphant Mike Olizar, flanked by Sir Anthony and Lady Cleaver

Triumphant Mike Olizar, flanked by Sir Anthony and Lady Cleaver

A second victory for Mike, who won the race 25 years ago. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

Bubbly for second placed Vanessa Marshall

Bubbly for second placed Vanessa Marshall

(photo: Fiona Cambell)

Reading material for Anne, who also proudly displayed the now engraved Bradshaw cup which she won two Saturdays ago

Reading material for Anne, who also proudly displayed the now engraved Bradshaw cup which she won two Saturdays ago

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

President Rob commenced the post race prentation by reading the Evening News report of the 1926 Bridge to Bridge

President Rob commenced the post race prentation by reading the Evening News report of the 1926 Bridge to Bridge

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

The Evening News report of the Bridge to Bridge race on the 17th July 1926 was headlined "Grandfathers in Serpentine Race".  Rob read out the paper's report -   

"While Londoners were sleeping, 59 swimmers turned out, a record entry, to race in memory of the Serpentine swimmers who fell in the Great War.  White-haired grandfathers struggled pluckily with schoolboys.  Fred Houghton, the handicapper, started the men from the Knightsbridge end with 75-year-old Richard Ledger leading the swimmers, saying 'I wouldn't miss this great race for anything'.  The last man in was W H Melhuish, a bus driver and Club champion for the past fourteen years. At the half distance J.Hughes, a comparative stripling in his sixties, was ten yards ahead of his nearest rival, playwright Henry Devereaux, but it was T. Wiggins, a Kilburn chauffeur, who forged ahead near the finish, which he reached forty yards ahead of W Bayly and Sam Youlton. 'It was a fine race' the winner said, 'but a wound in my leg I got in Ypres began to trouble me near the finish."

Rob noted that the range and diversity of the club's membership reported in the press 96 years ago is as proudly true today as it was then.  In fact even more so - women were able to join as associate members in 1973 and as full members in 1985.

For further background and history of our summer Blue Ribbon race please follow this link to the 2021 report -

http://serpentineswimmingclub.com/news/51116/bridge-to-bridge-race-2021

Rob spoke with friendly appreciation of Anthony and Jennie and their contribution to the club

Rob spoke with friendly appreciation of Anthony and Jennie and their contribution to the club

.(photo: Brian Thomas)

President Rob gave an outline the many commerical and public bodies that Sir Anthony has chaired (IBM UK, EngineeringUK, Royal College of Music, to name but a few).  Despite these "heights" Anthony still describes himself as simply "a systems engineer".

Rob also expressed his thankful appreciation of Anthony's greatly appreciated contribution to the club's management and administration

Not sure what Rob said, but it certainly tickled Fiona

Not sure what Rob said, but it certainly tickled Fiona

Rosie not amused. (photo: Brian Thomas)

The traditional three cheers

The traditional three cheers

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Anthony and Jennie have sponsored the Bridge to Bridge race since 2003

Jennie joined the club in 1991.  Though she never raced, she certainly impressed with her serene and effortless glide through the water.  Her graceful secret ....  flippers.  Jennie's family have a long association with the club stretching back at least to the 1940s.  Club member Bill Maggs, in whose memory we still race each March, was butler to her grandmother's household.

Anthony met Jennie in the late 1990s and joined the club "by instruction" -  he wasn't given a choice.  Anthony is famous within the club for his exceptionally strong side stroke, much in the mould of Captain Matthew Webb, who in 1875 became the first person to successfully swim across the English Channel.  This skill served him well on 21 September 2010 when he was part of the "Serpentine Veterans" relay team.  The other team members were Matthew Morony, David Mackertich, Geoff Ransom, George Cselko, Robin Hunter, and Alan Mitchell.

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

In the 1990s and 2000s Jennie would gracefully swim the Bridge to Bridge, though not as a competitor - her flippers were tolerated but not considered "legal". (photo: Mike Harris)

An early morning brisk walk (skimpies optional) is required as a precursor to the race

An early morning brisk walk (skimpies optional) is required as a precursor to the race

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Tim Outen on his way

Tim Outen on his way

Tim won the race in 2018. (photo: Fiona Campbell)

Handicapper Dani Lobo deep in concentration

Handicapper Dani Lobo deep in concentration

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Robin assisted Dani by calling out the clock time using his phone stopwatch function

Robin assisted Dani by calling out the clock time using his phone stopwatch function

To be honest, it looks like was he puzzling over that morning's Wordle? (photo: Anthony Wood)

An early starter creating ripples under a blue sky

An early starter creating ripples under a blue sky

(photo: Mike Harris)

Awaiting their mark with anticipation

Awaiting their mark with anticipation

(photo: Anthony Wood)

Not sure why Eric looks worried? - this is his 4th decade of Bridge to Bridge participation

Not sure why Eric looks worried? -  this is his 4th decade of Bridge to Bridge participation

Maybe it's because he has never won the race? (photo: Fiona Campbell)

Some very patient swimmers

Some very patient swimmers

(photo: Mike Harris)

Eric ready to slip into hot water (23c and rising)

Eric ready to slip into hot water (23c and rising)

(photo: Fiona Campbell)

Rob studiously helped the racers safely enter the water

Rob studiously helped the racers safely enter the water

(photo: Anthony Wood)

MIke Harris swam the course but did not race. He took some wonderful aquatic photos along the way with his waterproof camera

MIke Harris swam the course but did not race.  He took some wonderful aquatic photos along the way with his waterproof camera

(photo: Mike Harris)

(photo: Mike Harris)

(photo: Mike Harris)

(photo: Mike Harris)

Lucy Harris just finished

Lucy Harris just finished

(photo: Mike Harris)

Lucy and Jeremy

Lucy and Jeremy

(photo: Mike Harris)

Lucy and Jeremy joined by John Luckhurst

Lucy and Jeremy joined by John Luckhurst

(photo: Mike Harris)

(photo: Mike Harris)

Yvonne (aka Squirrell) is clapped home

Yvonne (aka Squirrell) is clapped home

(photo: Mike Harris)

Eric, joind by Duff Kelly. Duff was following dad Bob Kelly's "footsteps" and had trawled the bottom of the lake for treasue. In the bag: a vintage VCR recorder.

Eric, joind by Duff Kelly. Duff was following dad Bob Kelly's

(photo: Mike Harris)

A busy finish at Rennes Bridge. (photo: Anthony Wood)

(Report compiled by Brian Thomas)