News & Media

Youngest and oldest swimmers prove Swim Serpentine is an event for all ages

Seventy-four years separate the youngest and oldest swimmers participating in Swim Serpentine on Saturday [22 September] proving age is nothing but a number when it comes to taking the plunge.

Youngest swimmer Lola Pryor turned 12 on Tuesday and will celebrate by swimming the half-mile distance at Swim Serpentine where she will be joined by 86-year-old Albert Yee who is the oldest swimmer in the event by six years.

Londoner Lola is looking forward to taking part in such an iconic open water swimming event in her home city and in a lake she knows well.

She said: “I love swimming. I started when I was six months old and first swam in the Serpentine in armbands!

“It’s really exciting to be able to take part in Swim Serpentine. My mum is swimming in the two-mile distance and I asked if I could do it too. We saw the age limit was 12 so it’s exciting to be able to do it at that age!”

Lola is a keen open water swimmer so the swim should not be too much of a challenge for her. As well as the Serpentine, she has swam in seas, the River Thames, and a Scottish loch.

What will be different for Lola is being the youngest at something. She is the oldest in her family and one of the oldest in her school year with her birthday falling in September.

“I feel really privileged to be the youngest swimmer,” she said. “I’m the oldest in my family and in my class so it’s super exciting. I’m slightly nervous because I’ve never done a mass-participation open-water swimming event before but I’m also really excited.”

Lola is one of 13 12-year-olds taking part in the half-mile swim but Albert stands alone in the oldest swimmer category.

He may now be in his 87th year, but the octogenarian from Orpington, in Kent, is still fighting fit.

“I swim every other day and run at my local parkrun,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like Swim Serpentine before but I am used to swimming in the sea and am looking forward to it.”

In total, there will be 6,000 swimmers participating in this year’s Swim Serpentine, spread across three distances: half mile, one mile and two mile.

Swimmers have come from around the world to take part in the event which has quickly become one of the most iconic open-water swimming events in the world.

Countries represented include Norway, Israel, Canada, Australia, Russia, Spain, Luxembourg, Ukraine, Ireland, Turkey, USA, Denmark, France, South Africa and Germany.