Foggy goggles deny Hughes open water win but Hatfield swimmer still a happy man

PUBLISHED: 15:58 25 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:59 25 September 2017

Hatfield Swimming Club's Nathan Hughes (second from left) after the 2017 Swim Serpentine.

Hatfield Swimming Club's Nathan Hughes (second from left) after the 2017 Swim Serpentine.

Archant

Racing against an Olympic champion is one thing, but almost defeating one is an experience Hatfield swimmer Nathan Hughes won't be forgetting in a hurry.

Competing in the elite men’s race at Swim Serpentine, 17-year-old Hughes faced Rio 2016 10km open water Olympic champion Ferry Weertman, one of an impressive field of swimmers including Team GB star Jack Burnell.

Racing one lap of the iconic Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park, the teenager was leading as the finish line approached, only to veer off course after his goggles steamed up.

That led to a late scramble back to the finish line, and remarkably, Hughes was able to cross in second, just one second behind Weertman with a time of 17.17 to win the silver medal.

“It was frustrating because I just went the wrong side of the final buoy as my goggles had steamed up,” said Hughes, who competed at last month’s World Junior Championships in Indianapolis.

“I felt like I was strong at that point and had enough left and it would have been a great win.

“Just to be in this race competing against the Olympic champion and other great swimmers was a great opportunity and I hope to get more opportunities like this.

“I concentrated mainly on the pool last year but this coming season I think I’ll be mixing open water swimming with some of the longer distances in the pool.”

Now in its second year, Swim Serpentine is a one-day open water swimming festival staged in the heart of the capital by the organisers of the Virgin Money London Marathon and Prudential RideLondon.

Almost 5,000 swimmers of all ages and abilities took part and for Dutchman Weertman, also the reigning 10km open water world champion, it was a delight to see so many people embracing his sport.

“There were some of the top open water swimmers in the world here so Nathan did really well and I hope to see him in international competitions in the future,” said Weertman.

Swim Serpentine is a one-day open water swimming festival staged in the heart of London and organised by London Marathon Events.

To find out more about Swim Serpentine and The London Classics, go to www.swimserpentine.co.uk

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