Thousands of swimmers take plunge for lake challenge milestone
THOUSANDS of swimmers will take the plunge in the chilly waters of Windermere today as the Great North Swim celebrates its 10th anniversary.
The three-day event has grown into one of the largest open water swimming events in the UK.
Swimmers and competitors aged eight upwards will take part in a 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, 5k and 10k swim.
People travel from all over the world to tackle the challenges, based at Low Wood Bay Resort.
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary, the Great North Swim team are introducing a brand new SwimRun element and an exciting elite race.
Great Swim Director Alex Jackson said: "We're really excited to be celebrating 10 years of the Great North Swim in Windermere this weekend. Since 2008 the swim has grown from 3,000 participants to around 10,000 which clearly demonstrates the increasing popularity of this exhilarating sport."
The SwimRun concept is based on teamwork, passion, and closeness to nature, teams of two embark on a seamless journey across the landscape, taking on land and water, as they navigate their way around the course.
The swim is not just for endurance athletes; anyone who is willing to have a go was welcome to apply.
Many are raising money for worthy causes close to their hearts. Dan Hayes of Clevelands Avenue, Barrow, is taking part in the swim just one week after running a three-day marathon.
The Furness athlete is taking on 17 challenges this year to raise money in memory of his close friend, Gordon Cooney of Walney.
A former driving instructor and musician, Mr Cooney died last year aged 57, after battling motor neurone disease.
All money raised will go to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Mr Hayes has planned to swim one mile today but feels good enough to take on the two-mile challenge.
Today's events kick off at noon, with the last one taking place at 6pm.
Tomorrow's events will get going at 8.30am and the last swim sets off at 4.30pm.
Sunday, the last day of the event, will start at 8am and will end at 16.45pm.
For more information visit the Great North Swim website.