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Take the plunge for charity - Great East Swim set to return next year

PUBLISHED: 14:21 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:33 26 November 2018

All ages from eight upwards are welcome to take part in the Great East Swim. Picture: GREAT SWIM SERIES

All ages from eight upwards are welcome to take part in the Great East Swim. Picture: GREAT SWIM SERIES

Great Swim Series

Swimmers are getting on their marks, as the biggest open water-swimming event in Suffolk, the Great East Swim, is set to return next year.

Participants in last year's Great East Swim Picture: GREAT SWIM SERIESParticipants in last year's Great East Swim Picture: GREAT SWIM SERIES

Organisers have announced that the date for the next event, at Alton Water near Ipswich, is June 22. Around 2,000 people of all ages and abilities are expected to take the plunge at the major charity challenge, while thousands will also turn out to watch and support them.

All are welcome to don a wetsuit and take part – ranging from first timers to experienced open-water swimmers.

Alex Jackson, of the Great Swim Series, said: “We are delighted to be returning to Alton Water for the eleventh Great East Swim and we’re looking forward to welcoming the thousands of participants who will be taking on their own personal challenge in Suffolk.

“Over the years, the event has grown into a fantastic day of swimming for all ages and abilities, it’s always inspiring to see so many different people coming together to enjoy this brilliant day in the region’s summer sporting calendar.”

Swimmers at last year's Great East Swim at Alton Water Picture: GREAT SWIM SERIESSwimmers at last year's Great East Swim at Alton Water Picture: GREAT SWIM SERIES

Macmillan Cancer Support is once again the official charity partner for the event. Last year’s swim is estimated to have raised £12,000 for the charity.

Swimmers will also be raising money for St Elizabeth Hospice and environmental and educational charity the Green Light Trust, Suffolk County Council’s official charities for the event.

The event is now over 10 years old and will feature seven distances, across a packed day of swimming for all abilities.

The shortest distance is a family-friendly 250-metre swim for beginners and swimmers as young as eight, which is the equivalent of 10 lengths of a standard 25m pool and is ideal for families. All eight to 12-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult.

The longest distance is a challenging marathon 10k swim.

The Great East SwimRun will also return for the third year, with teams of two taking on a seamless journey across land and water.

Swimmers and spectators have been treated to glorious weather over the last two years, with beautiful sunshine and water reaching over 20 degrees.

The Great East Swim also includes an outreach programme, which is organised by Suffolk County Council to target physically inactive adults.

The programme offers 96 people who are not confidently engaged in physical activity with an opportunity to push themselves in a challenging environment.

People taking part in the program will be supported throughout their training, with the aim of completing the half-mile or one-mile distance.

Every year, participants and supporters also enjoy on-site entertainment across the day, as well as a farmers’ market from Suffolk Market Events.

Entries to the Great East Swim are open now, with charges varying depending on your chosen distance. For more information and to enter, visit the event website.

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