Payne takes the plunge ahead of SwimBritian Challenge

14 August 2013

Olympic silver medallist and former World Champion Keri-anne Payne took the plunge at Blenheim Palace for the first time as she trains ahead of her first team challenge.

Fresh from the Barcelona World Championships, Keri-anne made a splash as she trained at the iconic Oxfordshire landmark ahead of her other big event of the summer – British Gas SwimBritain, a new team relay event taking place at The Great Lake on Sunday 1st September.

Keri-anne will be joined in September by comedian and swimming enthusiast David Walliams, who has already swum the Channel and the Thames in aid of Sport Relief, and fellow Beijing medallist Cassie Patten. Each will lead their own team in the first relay swim challenge of its kind.

"British Gas SwimBritain will be the first event I’ve done at Blenheim so I’m really looking forward to it." - Keri-anne PayneKeri-anne is calling on seasoned open water swimmers and novices alike to team up with friends and family and take on the challenge. Teams of four will complete a relay swim of 1000m each in four 250m legs. Blenheim Palace is proud to host the only open water event in the series, with nine further pool events taking place around the country during August and September.

Beijing silver medallist Keri-anne said: “British Gas SwimBritain will be the first event I’ve done at Blenheim so I’m really looking forward to it.

“I love the thrill of competing but it’s just as exciting to swim for fun at an event like this. There’s always a really lively atmosphere and with it being a team challenge, it means we can have a bit of fun with each other - there’s probably going to be a bit of friendly rivalry between David, Cassie and me over whose team will finish first!”

Comedian David Walliams, who will also take on the challenge at Blenheim, said:

“Doing a swim challenge as a team will be a new experience for me, so I’m really excited to be taking part in my first team swim for British Gas SwimBritain.

“It’s been great to dig out my wetsuit again and get training– swimming is such good exercise and is a refreshing, relaxing way of getting active rather than slogging it out in the gym. I’d encourage everyone to team up for SwimBritain and give it a go.”

British Gas SwimBritain is a new programme which aims to encourage half a million more people to swim regularly by 2015.

Everyone signing up to British Gas SwimBritain will be offered four coaching sessions, redeemable in over 150 pools across the country to help improve their technique and training over the summer as they prepare for their British Gas SwimBritain challenge.

Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, is the official charity partner of British Gas SwimBritain. Shelter helps over a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness, and is aiming to raise £100,000 with British Gas SwimBritain to support its vital work.

Sign up now at


Baby Swimming Lesson Guidelines - Parents IoS Training For Level 2 Teaching Qualifications Purchase today Sign up to the ASA School Swimming Charter. We're taking swimming seriously, are you?