With flippers, snorkel and determination, Philip John from south Wales beat an international field of competitors on Monday to be crowned World Bog Snorkeling Champion.
To cheers from bog snorkeling enthusiasts and local onlookers, John took 1.45 minutes to complete the course — a 60 yard long and four-foot deep trench cut in a peat bog outside Llanwrtyd Wells in mid Wales.
The 90 competitors who took part in the 17th World Championships were allowed snorkels and flippers, but according to the rules could not use conventional swimming strokes.
“It has been a very good day. We have had competitors from the United States, Russia, Australia, Ireland and of course Britain,” organizer Gordon Green said.
Bog snorkeling may not have thousands of adherents, but what supporters might lack in numbers they make up for in enthusiasm.
“Its an unforgiving sport. You get bitten by insects, very dirty, smelly and you are wet all day,” said Julia Galvin, a competitor from Ireland who in 1999 was runner-up in the woman’s race.
“The best bit is having a warm bath at the end,” she said.