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Blue Peter presenter Andy to confront swimming phobia for Big Splash

11 May 2011

Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere is set to confront his lifelong phobia of swimming in open water as part of the Big Splash.

The 28-year old regards swimming in deep water as his biggest fear but insists he is determined to conquer it as his final challenge before he leaves the BBC show this summer.

It's a genuine deep-rooted phobia - I feel so exposed out there because there's nothing to hold on to.

Having trained with a number of British Swimming coaches over recent months, Andy will continue his preparation by taking part in the mile-long British Gas Great North Swim in Manchester this weekend, where BBC will launch their coverage of the Big Splash.

And the Nigerian-born presenter admits he hopes his efforts in learning to swim will act as inspiration for some of the 12 million people who can’t swim in the UK.

“I’m absolutely petrified of swimming in deep water and out in the ocean,” said Akinwolere. “It’s actually stopped me from filming on certain occasions.

“It’s a genuine deep-rooted phobia. I feel so exposed out because like there’s nothing to hold on to.

“But I’m going to make it my mission to conquer this fear.

“There are 12 million people in this country that can’t swim and if you’re a black kid you’re less likely to get in the water and swim.

“So this is a real motivation for me to really change this.”

Click here to learn more about Andy’s challenge in Monday’s Blue Peter episode on BBC iPlayer.

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