Up to 10,000 swimmers are expected to take the plunge at Britain’s biggest open-water swimming event - the Great North Swim - in Windermere, South Cumbria, this weekend.
Set in the surroundings of the Lake District National Park, the event takes place from the 12 – 14 June and features a variety of distances.
The three day festival of swimming will also feature a world-class elite race, held in partnership with British Swimming. The race will act as a selection event for the senior British team ahead of the World Championships in Kazan, and as a team selection event for the European Junior Championships.
Some of the best open water swimmers from around the world are featured in the line-up.
Alongside the elite swimmers will be amateurs of all abilities, taking on their own personal challenges over half mile, one mile, two mile or five kilometre distances. Joining them will be cricketing legend, ex-England international and 2005 Ashes winner, Matthew Hoggard who is preparing to take on the challenge of swimming at four of the Great Swim events taking place across the UK this summer, in aid of the charity Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB).
He said: "I am delighted to be taking part in the Great North Swim to help Cricket Without Boundaries continue to grow the game in Africa and use it as a vehicle to deliver vital health messages. Cricket has given me so much over the years and it is great to be able to give something back.
“The Great North Swim is my first ever open water swimming event - I’m a bit nervous, but really looking forward to it!”
Great Swim Director Alex Jackson said: “We’re really excited to be celebrating our eighth year in Windermere. Since 2008 the swim has grown from 3,000 participants to around 10,000, which clearly demonstrates the increasing popularity of this exhilarating sport.
“As the largest and most well established swim series in the UK, Great Swim offers an unparalleled open water event experience. The safety of our participants is our number one priority, and first timers can be assured that our safety experts and kayak team will be with them every stroke of the way.”