26,000 celebrate 2012 Swimathon

3rd May 2012

Last weekend in 645 pools across the UK, more than 26,000 swimmers took part in the annual 25th Swimathon Weekend to raise vital funds through Swimathon’s 2.5k and 5k Distance Challenges and the new ‘Big Splash Mile for Sport Relief’.

Olympic stars Keri-Anne Payne and Duncan Goodhew officially opened two of the larger Swimathon Weekend events in London and Manchester, in addition to a host of well-known TV stars who also took the plunge for charity.

Olympic silver medallist and World 10k open water swimming champion Keri-Anne Payne opened one of the first sessions, at her home pool of Grand Central in Stockport to over 100 eager swimmers.

“Training and competing alongside elite distance swimmers, you can get into the mindset that only a small group of people would choose to participate in this type of activity," she said. "It’s both heart-warming and inspiring to see members of the public also take on these massive challenges - and all for charity.”

Swimathon President and Olympic gold medallist, Duncan Goodhew added: “We had a fantastic turn out at the Swimathon Weekend events over the course of the weekend.

"It’s inspiring to see so many people of all ages and abilities coming together to take part in this life changing event and raise much needed funds. These amazing people have raised more than £34 million for charity to date - including £6 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care alone.”

Funds raised by those who dived into one of Swimathon’s traditional longer distance challenges (2.5 or 5k) will help Marie Curie Cancer Care to provide free nursing care and support for people with terminal cancer and other illnesses.

This weekend’s donations raised by Milers will be spent by Comic Relief to help people living incredibly tough lives; both here, at home in the UK, and across the world's poorest countries.

Check out all the amazing pictures we've had so far in our gallery.