SUMMER MADNESS: In the swim of things

AQUATHON: Tom Priest, a medal winning swimmer in the tropical tank at Weymouth Sea Life park to help with cleaning.

AQUATHON: Tom Priest, a medal winning swimmer in the tropical tank at Weymouth Sea Life park to help with cleaning.

First published in News by , Trainee Reporter

AQUARISTS at Weymouth Sea Life Park enlisted the help of local Aquathon bronze medallist Tom Priest.

The bronze medallist and Sport Lecturer at Weymouth College joined the Sea Life Park to help busy Aquarists clean the large ocean tank which is home to green sea turtles, nurse sharks, black tip reef sharks, stingrays, guitar sharks and a variety of species of fish.

Tom jumped in and assisted with the cleaning of the tank whilst also distracting the creatures by practising for his upcoming Aquathon.

When asked what was more nerve-racking – swimming in the ocean tank or representing Team GB for the 2nd time in the World Championships taking place in Canada this August – Tom said: “Oh I’m a bit nervous for both.

“Obviously competing makes you a little nervous, but representing team GB in the world championships is another ball game!

“Also, jumping into a tank full of sharks, stingrays and moray eels is equally nail-biting but an amazing experience!”

An Aquathon is a dual-discipline race consisting of a 750 metre open-water swim followed by a 5,000 metre run. Tom’s time in Cologne at the European Championships saw him scoop a time of 35 minutes and 14 seconds gaining him his bronze medal. Compared with a black tip reef shark, Tom’s top speed was likely to be in the region of 4mph.

A black tip reef shark can swim up to 20mph meaning it could complete the 750 metre open-water swim in one minute and 24 seconds.

The Sea Life Park is open daily from 10am – 5pm. See sealifeweymouth.com

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