Taking the plunge in Windermere's Great North Swim

PUBLISHED: 16:47 06 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:30 20 February 2013

Under starter’s orders

Under starter’s orders

More than 10,000 swimmers will take to the water at Windermere this month to raise thousand of pounds for charities. Emma Mayoh will be one of them

For the millions of tourists who head north each year to enjoy the Lakes, jumping into one of them might not be on the top of everyones must do list. But there is a hard - maybe, foolhardy - band who would disagree. And there are more than 10,000 of them.

Swimmers from professionals to Olympians to amateurs will be
taking on a personal challenge in Windermeres Great North Swim between June 17th and 19th. Ill be one of them.

We will take part in a variety of races from half a mile, one mile or two miles. There will also be an elite race that attracts accomplished athletes from around the globe. Although this years sporting stars have not yet been confirmed, previous races have included British Olympic silver medallist Keri-Anne Payne.

The swim, held in the waters at Low Wood Bay, first took place in 2008. This years is the biggest yet making it the largest open water swimming event in Britain and the second largest in Europe. It is part of a series held around the world but, for the Lakes, it represents a substantial boost to the local economy.

David Hart, from event organisers Nova International, said: When you first start to plan an event like this you dont know how people will react. But over the past few years it has taken off in a massive way.

It really seems to have captured the imagination of thousands of people all over the country. People love this idea of setting themselves a personal challenge, athletes use it to get themselves noticed, particularly in the run up to London 2012 and the swimmers raised thousands, if not millions of pounds, for charity.

But the organisers will be keeping their fingers crossed for the three day swimming spectacular. Last years swim was cancelled because of blooms of blue green algae, a bacteria which grows on the surface of water and can produce toxins.

David said: It was an incredible disappointment to everyone and a big part of the decision to move the event was of the higher risk of blue algae in September.

We are hoping that everything runs very smoothly this year and we will all be there cheering the swimmers on. We hold events all around the world in some of the most spectacular settings but Windermere is arguably the best place with amazing scenery and a great atmosphere. It is just stunning.

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