See the swimmers who braved murky waters at the World Bog Snorkelling Championships

Dozens of swimmers braved murky waters of a peat bog (eww) to take part in the 30th World Bog Snorkelling Championships. Well done if you knew that was a thing.

The competition saw around 130 competitors from across the world, some in fancy dress, battle through the Waen Rhydd Bog on the outskirts of Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, mid Wales.

They were cheered on by hundreds of spectators who were enjoying the August bank holiday ritual, despite the rain.

There are strict rules enforced by organisers as competitors swim two lengths of the 55-metre trench as quickly as possible, keeping their faces in the dirty water and relying on a snorkel to breath.

They can only use doggy paddle as front crawl and breast stroke are banned by organisers, as are mono-fins and webbed gloves. Most choose to wear wetsuits but some hardy types do without.

The event regularly attracts participants from across the world, including France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Japan.

The current world record holder is Kirsty Johnson, 33, from Surrey, who set the record last year at one minute and 22.56 seconds – beating the previous best by 0.15 seconds.

This year serial bog snorkeller Haydn Pitchforth, from Leeds, regained his world title in a time of one minute and 26 seconds – four seconds quicker than his nearest rival.

The first swimmer through this year was Joel Hicks, 36, from Leicestershire, who set a time of two minutes and seven seconds, raising funds for his foundation Always With A Smile.

He said: “It went well, apart from the first mouthful of water at the start.

“I work with a number of different charities and good causes putting a smile on the faces of as many people as possible.”

Gordon Green, 80, founded the competition 30 years ago when he ran The Neuadd Arms pub in the town as a way of encouraging tourism.

He said: “You have to be a good swimmer, have the right sort of flippers and you have to be strong, as it’s all about leg power,” he said.

Run by a team of volunteers, the annual competition is part of a roster of eccentric events held throughout the year at Llanwrtyd Wells, the UK’s smallest town.

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