'It's freedom, adventure and fun all rolled together' - open water swimming comes to Northamptonshire
A country park in Northamptonshire will host open water swimming from June 2019, a sport described as "freedom, adventure and fun all rolled together".
Delivered by Northamptonshire County Council, the outdoor activity will take place at Sywell Country Park next year offering people the chance to swim in a safe and controlled environment.
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 scheme is being organised by Northamptonshire Sport with strict safety management from British Triathlon and Royal Life Saving Society.
"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," said Chris Holmes, the director of Northamptonshire Sport.
"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."
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.
"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," said Cllr Cecile Irving-Swift, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing.
"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."