Northamptonshire residents will get the chance to try one of the UK’s fastest-growing sports as open water swimming comes to the county.
Delivered by Northamptonshire County Council, open water swimming will take place at Sywell Country Park next year offering the chance to swim in a safe and controlled environment.
The scheme is being organised by Northamptonshire Sport with strict safety management from British Triathlon and Royal Life Saving Society.
In the first event of its kind for the county, trials are open to swimming clubs, before public sessions start in June 2019.
At least two qualified lifeguards, session leaders and two spotters will supervise sessions to make them as safe as possible for swimmers.
The initiative is being launched with a swimming festival where participants can get expert coaching to ensure they swim safely with a positive introduction to the sport.
Following the festival, a summer-long series of swimming sessions are planned and will be open to all.
County Council deputy leader and cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Cllr Cecile Irving-Swift said: “There are very few venues for open water swimming locally and the clean waters of Sywell Country Park provide an ideal venue for this to happen in a safe and controlled way.
“It is just the kind of sustainable programme we like to support as part of our legacy at the park and we work with clubs and groups across the county as part of our ongoing mission to get people active in Northants.
“I would emphasise that this permission is for managed open water swimming under strictly controlled circumstances and does not open the park up for swimming outside of scheduled events.”
Director of Northamptonshire Sport Chris Holmes said: “Open water swimming is a great way to explore the outdoors from a totally different perspective, it’s freedom, adventure and fun all rolled together.
“As well as those chasing an adrenaline rush, outdoor swimming is also luring existing swimmers looking for something different, often after growing bored of their regular swimming pool experience.
“While you’ll need to be a competent swimmer, you don’t have to be a superstar to take on open water – it’s a fairly simple transition from the pool.”