The 48 entrants for the 46th Round the Pier Swim at Aberavon Beach, organised by Aberavon Green Stars RFC, were bathed in bright sunshine when they left the starting line.
18 minutes and 19 seconds later, the winner of the open event Garod Thomas crossed the finishing line at the Green Stars clubhouse ahead of Andrew O’Leary and James Hockin in times of 18.52 and 18 55.
It was Garod Thomas’ eighth win since 2003. Just behind them was 17-year-old Ffion Harrett (21.51) who won the ladies event by beating last years winner Ffion Davies (21.51) into second place.
Third was Georgia Hodges (22.55) who also won the youngest competitor’s shield, having attained the grand old age of 16 the previous Tuesday. At the other end of the age spectrum 64-year-old John Elkins (27.47) was awarded the oldest competitor trophy – open event.
Vince Lewis (30.04) was the first club member to finish while the oldest competitor – club event went to 52-year-old Anthony O’Callaghan.
The category for employees of Tata Steel was won by Carl George (20.33) who last won the Peter Allen trophy in 2010. Second was Ben Burggvaaf (22.03) followed by last year’s winner Mike Rose (24.22).
In fourth and fifth positions were Phil Short (24.57) and Paul O’Dwyer (25.52). All the above received inscribed pottery tankards and each swimmer a printed tee shirt courtesy of Tata Steel.
They were sent on their way by the Mayor of Neath Port Talbot CBC, Cllr Hugh James, club president Mathew Crowley and Martin Brunnock, technical director of Tata Steel UK, who are the main sponsors.
The Frank Burke cups, Peter Allen trophy and Mal Thomas shield with the Bryn & Richard Landeg shield were presented by the mayor, club president, Martin Brunnock and Stephen Kinnock, prospective Labour candidate for the Aberavon constituency who has already put his name forward for the 47th Round the Pier Swim next year.
The master of ceremonies was Anthony O’Callaghan assisted by swim organiser Bernard Donovan. Live music by local band Lost Frequency was enjoyed by the enthusiastic swim supporters. The pottery tankards and tee shirts were donated by Tata Steel and the ladies trophies by Port Talbot Brickwork Ltd. The essential safety coverage was again provided by Aberavon Surf Lifesaving Club, Aberavon Canoe Club and Port Talbot RNLI.