Competitors get down and dirty at Britain's bog snorkeling championships

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Competitors take part in the Rude Health World Bog Snorkelling Championships at Waen Rhydd peat bog in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, Sunday, Aug, 27, 2023. Bog snorkelling is a sporting event where competitors aim to complete two consecutive lengths of a 60 yards water-filled trench cut through a peat bog in the shortest time possible, wearing traditional snorkel, diving mask and flippers. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

LONDON – Intrepid athletes donned snorkels and slithered through slime on Sunday during one of Britain’s quirkiest sporting events: the World Bog Snorkeling Championships.

The annual competition in the tiny town of Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, sees competitors race to complete two lengths of a 60-yard (55 meter) water-filled trench cut through a peat bog. They can use flippers on their feet, but conventional swimming strokes are banned.

Some contestants accessorized their snorkels, masks and flippers with more flamboyant touches -- one carried a giant plastic toad on their head, another had a bathing cap adorned with flowers. Spectators also got in on the fun, with two wearing pink cardboard boxes proclaiming them to be limited edition bog-snorkeling Barbie and Ken.

Competitors at the 35th annual contest were hoping to beat the time of current world record-holder Neil Rutter, who won in 1 minute, 18 seconds in 2018.