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Last Updated: Monday, 25 December 2006, 18:08 GMT
Swimmers enjoy chilly festive dip
Swimmers in south Wales
Hundreds of swimmers braved the cold in south Wales
Hundreds of swimmers across various parts of Britain have braved extremely cold waters to enjoy a Christmas dip.

In London's Hyde Park, Sally Kelly, 33, became the first woman to win the annual Christmas Day swimming race in its 142-year history.

She beat dozens of other swimmers in the 100-yard dash down the Serpentine, with water temperatures at 4C (39F).

Both the Bristol Channel and the English Channel provided other venues for the UK's Christmas swimmers.

Mrs Kelly said: "It's fantastic. I can't quite believe it. I have swum the race before but never come anywhere near the front. I was quite lucky to make it through the crowd.

It's really invigorating and the perfect thing to do if you're feeling stressed-out
Keith Marlton, Xmas swimmer

"Now it's down to my family's house for Christmas dinner and to warm up a bit."

Around 100 spectators were assembled on the banks of the Serpentine to cheer the swimmers on.

Meanwhile, England's oldest swimming club held its Christmas swim in the bracing waters of the English Channel.

Club management member Keith Marlton, 69, who has been taking part in Christmas Day swims for 15 years, said: "When you come out, shower and dry off, you really do feel tremendous.

"It's really invigorating and the perfect thing to do if you're feeling stressed-out."

Meanwhile in Coney Beach in Porthcawl, south Wales, record numbers joined the annual dip in the Bristol channel.

Thousands of spectators watched from the shore as 684 swimmers took the plunge to raise money for a local self-help centre.

For those wanting a somewhat warmer swim, the open-air heated swimming pool in Hampton, south west London, offered more comfortable waters of 28C (82F).

Christmas scenes from around the world

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24 Dec 06 |  Gloucestershire
Swimmers enjoy 'warm' Christmas
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