Olympian Mark fosters support for swim event

IPSWICH: Olympic swimmer Mark Foster freestyled his way into the town to throw his weight behind the region’s biggest open water event.

The Strictly Come Dancing star hot-footed it to the Willis building’s rooftop garden to meet participants preparing for the Great East Swim.

He joined a number of employees from the insurance company and Suffolk County Council in a giant inflatable pool to give them last-minute tips in their lunch break.

The Great East Swim will see around 3,000 novices and experienced swimmers tackling a one-mile course at Alton Water reservoir on June 19 –the first of five open water swims across the country.

Mr Foster, who arrived in Ipswich yesterday with his treasured bulldog Em, said: “I want to get more and more people involved in swimming first and foremost. Having events like this gets people inspired.

“It is challenge. Strictly Come Dancing was a huge challenge for me. I couldn’t dance and I was petrified, but I went out there and I did it. This event gives people something to aim for.”

Mr Foster, 40, attended the first Great North Swim in 2008. Since then, the event has almost tripled in size with 20,000 predicted to take the plunge this year.

Most Read

The eight-times world record holder said he was tempted to take part in the Great East Swim this year.

He has also considered trying to conquer the English Channel, but admitted he would need to train hard for it. “I am not an endurance athlete,” he said.

If you would like to take part in the Great East Swim, visit www.greatswim.org.

n Should people do more exercise? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstar letters@eveningstar.co.uk