DESPITE the wet and windy conditions, thousands of swimmers of all ages and abilities took on the challenge of the John West Great North Swim.

Open water enthusiasts, aged from eight to over 80 dived into the waters of Windermere to take on distances ranging from a beginners 250 meters all the way up to the gruelling 10km ‘marathon’ swim.

For the third year running, the event also featured the increasingly popular SwimRun, an off road, open-water, island hopping adventure.

More than 380 people were signed up to take part across the short, middle and endurance distances, which means the Great North SwimRun is now believed to be the biggest of its kind in the UK.

Alex Jackson, director of the Great Swim Series said: “We want to say a big well done to all our swimmers, who braved some choppy and challenging conditions to complete their own personal Great North Swim challenges over the weekend. Even the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of our brilliant participants and supporters who were out in force for another fantastic weekend.

“We’d also like to say a huge thanks to our safety team, lifeguards and local volunteers, as well as our partners at Brockhole who helped us deliver such a successful event.”

This year the event celebrated swimmers defying stereotypes with the ‘Unexpectedly Great’ Campaign.

In 2019, the event celebrated this incredible diversity and challenged the wider world’s preconceptions of who an athlete is.

Amongst this group of dedicated swimmers was Great Swim ambassador Sylvia Mac, a childhood burns survivor who endured third and fourth degree burns across her body as a result of an accident when she was just three.

Sylvia, from London, now campaigns to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those living with disfigurement and scarring. Sylvia runs swimming sessions to support people with disfigurements and skin conditions to feel more comfortable in the water. To take part in 2020 visit