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David Walliams set for 140-mile Thames swim

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30 August 2011

Little Britain star and swimming supremo David Walliams is set for his biggest challenge yet – to swim 140 miles of the Thames for Sport Relief.

The challenge is part of the UK’s largest swimming campaign, the Big Splash, and will see the 40-year old swim from Lechdale in Gloucestershire to Big Ben in London.

Most people think the idea of swimming in the Thames in horrifying... and it is!

Raising money for Sport Relief, Walliams will start his swim on 5th September and hopes to complete the marathon effort in just eight days.

The comedian is no stranger to challenges in the water, having swam the 21-mile English Channel in 2006 and the 12-mile Strait of Gibraltar two years later.

But with the risk of catching E.coli, salmonella, hepatitis or even encountering raw sewage in the Capital’s major waterway, Walliams insists his latest challenge will be his most difficult.

"If there’s a lot of rainfall there’ll be a lot of sewage so I’ve had to have loads of jabs,” said Walliams.

“Most people in the UK know the Thames and most people think the idea of swimming in it is horrifying. And it is. It’ll be relentless. It’s a huge distance so I’ll need all the support I can get.

“It’s really not a safe environment to swim in – people really mustn’t try this, I have an incredible team of experts to help keep me safe.

“Aside from anything else, you can’t see anything. There’s zero visibility in the water – I won’t even be able to see the end of my arm.”

While Walliams is adamant his stunt must not be copied, there’s nothing to stop you trying the challenge... in the comfort of your own pool!

In fact, using British Gas Swimfit, you can track your progress on Google Maps after each session to see how close you’re getting to the finish line.

If the Thames sounds a bit far, we’ve got challenges to suit all levels of swimmer. Head to Swimfit now and set yourself a swimming challenge...

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Go Swimming has everything you need to know about swimming. If you are a parent, a non swimmer or just want to improve your technique this is the section for you.

In British Swimming you will find information about the world of high performance sport, including the disciplines of Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Para-Swimming.

The ASA is the governing body for the sport in England. In this section you will find all you need to know about joining a club or competing in England and becoming a swimming teacher or coach.

The IoS delivers the ASA’s courses and is a member organisation. Whether you are a teacher, coach, employer or club you will find everything you need to know about qualifications or educating your workforce.

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