Wales hosts new open water event

Swim Wales will launch a new open water event that could lead to Commonwealth Games qualification.

The Dragon Open Water Swim will be held in Mumbles, near Swansea, for the first time on 6 August and the competition is expected to become an annual event.

The Commonwealth Games could follow the Olympics by adding open water swimming to the events list for Glasgow 2014.

In addition, the 1500 metres Mumbles swim will help any future Welsh bid to host a major championship.

One competition that Swim Wales could try to bring to Swansea is the European Junior Championship, which requires outdoor as well as indoor disciplines.

The course is much shorter than the 10 kilometre distance used at the Olympics, in which Welsh swimmer David Davies claimed a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.

But while there will be an elite class contesting the Dragon Swim, the event will be open to the general public with a competitor limit set at 500.

Tom Allen, 18, the 2010 European Junior 5k Open Water Champion and Great Britain Open Water Swimmer of the Year, hopes that the event will further boost the growing popularity of the sport.

"When I travel to different parts of the world to compete I see how popular open water swimming has become, it is getting more popular all the time," said the Flintshire swimmer, who is now based in Swansea.

"Having our own national swim is a big step forward for the event in Wales and [brings] the prospect of bigger events in the future."