Time to get out the wetsuit!

Alton Water is gearing up for the second annual Great East Swim, sponsored by British Gas, on 19 June 2010. The Great East Swim is one of four races held across the UK; including the Royal Victoria Locks in London, Lake Windermere in the Lake District, Alton Water in Suffolk and Strathclyde Loch in Scotland. The races attracted over 10,000 competitors last year.

The Great East Swim is swimming at its best - no chlorine, no lanes, and no walls - just you, a wet suit and the great outdoors!

If you want to join the thousands of swimmers this year, applications are now open for those that want to swim the one mile course across Alton Water. To enter please visit www.greateastswim.org

This is a fantastic challenge for swimmers of all abilities and ages. Last year, a 36-year-old mother of three, with a fear of deep water, competed alongside an 86-year-old grandad! In addition to the many amateurs who enjoy the event, some of the world’s top swimmers compete against one another, with last year’s event featuring the women’s Beijing Olympics gold, silver and bronze medallists.

Spectators are in for a great show, as the grassy banks of the site slope down to a pebble beach. This creates a natural auditorium, making this the perfect place to watch all the action.

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The swimmer’s view

Thomas Baxter took part in 2009. He said “This was my first open water swim, but I shall certainly be competing again in 2010. The weather last year was perfect, which attracted many spectators and supporters, really adding to the atmosphere. I was impressed by the variety of swimming abilities that took part – the competitive swimmers were free to race, but there were dozens of inspiring entrants who were there out of sheer determination to achieve something fantastic and help good causes.

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“Completing the mile was very satisfying. Many would say that swimming the same distance in a pool just doesn’t compare, and I would agree.”

Alton Water – a great place to visit

The Great East Swim is more than just an outdoor swimming competition.

A village springs up around the day, helping to make a fantastic day out without the need to get wet. A local farmers’ market, shops such as Aqua Sphere, and activities for all ages will keep you entertained throughout the day. And when you get peckish, there is a wide range of food and drinks available for visitors and competitors alike.

And if a chilly dip isn’t your thing, or you can’t come and watch on the day, this Anglian Water water park is a great place to visit all year round.

Set in 700 acres of beautiful countryside, it provides the perfect location for walks, cycle rides, wildlife spotting and family picnics.

If you fancy making a weekend of it, there’s plenty more to keep you occupied around Alton Water.

With miles of unspoilt countryside, numerous award winning beaches and scores of enchanting towns and villages all within reach of Alton Water, you could use your competitive streak as an excuse for a short break.

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