Pity the good folk of Porthcawl (soon to be renamed Porthcrawl) in Wales no longer. The David Davies effect will be in full flow on September 27, when the town's folk hold a swimming gala with a difference – on dry land.
Competitors will "swim" in fancy dress along John Street at the heart of Porthcawl to highlight their decades-long campaign for a public pool for the tankless town.
Event organiser Gary Victor told the Welsh media: “People of all ages have signed up to take part and we will be timing the races for the Guinness Book of Records, although I don’t think they have had any entries for a land swimming record before. People can come in snorkel and flippers or Victorian bathing suits. The more comedy involved, the better. We’ve even got a team of Elvises taking part."
Races will be solo and relay efforts, with "swimmers" stroking with their arms as their boots do the talking in a heel to toe motion. Water polo, aqua aerobics and synchronised swimming may also feature and a 25m “pool” will be cordoned off between the town's bandstand and a nearby chemist, that will doubtless be handing out headache pills to local councillors.
Lifeguards will be in attendance to ensure no one gets into difficulty and a diving board will bear the sign “Cancelled due to concerns over the depth of water”.
Victor bought a paddling pool for some kids races and the price included a £1 donation to Team GB for the 2012 Olympics. “I’ve written to Lord Coe to see if he will back our venture,” said the Porthcawl pioneer. “In just over a week more than 5,000 residents, visitors and schools wrote asking the council to include a combined swimming pool and leisure centre in their regeneration plans."
And the prizes to be handed out to winners on the day? No, not David Davies trophies but “Michael Phelps Cups” donated by a touring couple who sought a swim on their visit from Ilkley in Yorkshire - English county of Brit Olympic champs of yesteryear, Anita Lonsbrough and Adrian Moorhouse - only to find there was no pool.