Britain's Tom Allen and Germany's Isabelle Haerle produced brilliant swims to secure comfortable victories at the British Gas Great North Swim at Windermere.


Haerle made it two wins in a week at the country's leading open water swimming series after triumphing at the Great East Swim at Alton Water in Suffolk the previous weekend.



Allen, who was victorious at the East swim in 2009, was a popular winner on the day with thousands of spectators lining the banks of one of England's most iconic stretches of water.


The three-day Great North Swim is the biggest swimming event ever to be staged in the UK with over 10,000 people taking to the water in 1/2 mile, 1 mile and 2 mile events - the vast majority participating over the same one-mile course used for the elite races.




The men’s elite race featured an array of world-class talent with Allen joined by double Commonwealth Games gold medalist Dave Carry, Germany’s Jan Wolfgarten, runner-up at the Great East Swim, and several up and coming British swimmers.


Allen went off strongly but was tracked by Wolfgarten and Carry up to the halfway mark but then eased away from his rivals to finish 10m clear and win in 16min 30sec with the German again runner-up in 16.37 and Carry a close third (16.39).


The women’s race proved just as exciting and followed a remarkably similar pattern with the leading swimmers tightly packed up to the halfway buoy.


But Haerle, the German champion at 400m, 800m and 1500m in the pool, then pulled away from home favourite Cassie Patten, Switzerland's Swann Oberson, Holland's Maaike Waaijer and City of Leeds swimmer Danielle Hall Jackson.


It proved a decisive break and the German swept to an impressive victory in 17.52 – well clear of runner-up Waaijer (18.04) and Oberson (18.05) while Hall Jackson (18.06) just edged out Patten (18.08) for fourth spot.


Allen said: "I'm delighted with my swim. The support was brilliant – it’s an incredible event to be part of.”


Haerle added: "I’m very happy with how the race went. It’s a really great event – the atmosphere is brilliant and it’s amazing to see so many people trying open water swimming.”


Great Swim deeply regrets the tragic loss of life at the Great North Swim and offers its deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Craig Murphy.


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