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David Walliams takes on Olympian at the London Aquatic Centre

10 April 2014

TV comedian David Walliams leads SwimBritain 2014 for the second year in a row to encourage Britain back into the pool, with the help of superstar swimmer Becky Adlington.

It was the Britain’s Got Talent’s judge who was facing the music at the London Aquatic Centre yesterday, measuring up against the Olympic athlete who was returning into the same pool she won two Bronze medals in at London 2012.

British Gas SwimBritain is a programme now in its second year which aims to encourage more people to swim more regularly and rediscover their love of taking the plunge the process.

Test your fitness online with the SwimBritain Fitness Test

There are two different challenges to take on, the first is SwimBritain1000; a four person relay in which each member swims 250m around an open water style course in a 50m swimming pool. For families and beginner swimmers, SwimBritain500 is the same course in a 50m pool, with each member swimming half the distance each (125m).

Each participant will receive two free coaching sessions to help with their preparations for the challenge. There is also a fitness test available online at www.swimbritain.co.uk which can be completed from home, demonstrated by Adlington and Williams at the launch.

We hope to inspire all ages and abilities to swim more regularly -Duncan Goodhew

Walliams, who has already completed numerous swimming challenges for charities in recent years, said:

“Taking part in the British Gas SwimBritain open water event last year was brilliant fun – I was really bowled over by the buoyant atmosphere on the day, so I’m excited to be back again for 2014.

“I feel at home in the open water, so I’m excited to try the swim in the pool at the London Aquatics Centre this year – it’s a new challenge. Training against Becky today was a bit nerve-wracking as she’s such a swimming icon. It was a case of sink or swim so I think I gave it my best shot!”

Adlington, who recently retired from competitive swimming as Britain’s most successful swimmer, said:

“I may have retired from professional swimming but I will always love being in the water and a challenge like British Gas SwimBritain is brilliant as it’s really inclusive – not just for professional swimmers, as David proved today!

“Joking aside, swimming offers everyone a full range of health and fitness benefits so the more people we can encourage to swim regularly, the better. It’s a full body workout without any stress on the joints. A gentle half hour swim can burn up to 200 calories, so I’d love to see as many people as possible joining in and giving SwimBritain a go.”

To find your local participating pool or to sign your team up, visit SwimBritain.co.uk

British Gas ambassador, Duncan Goodhew said:

“We’re excited to be able to bring British Gas SwimBritain back for another year following last year’s success with thousands of people taking part across the country. By offering free coaching sessions and new for 2014, the fitness test, we hope to inspire all ages and abilities to swim more regularly with a range of tools to help them along the way.”

For further information on venues, how to sign up your team and get training plans and tips, visit www.swimbritain.co.uk

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