Rebecca Adlington and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams launch British Gas SwimBritain 2014

David Walliams and Rebecca Adlington pose for a picture at the top of the 10m diving platform during the launch of the British Gas SwimBritain event at the London Aquatic Centre.
David Walliams and Rebecca Adlington pose for a picture at the top of the 10m diving platform during the launch of the British Gas SwimBritain event at the London Aquatic Centre.

Mansfield’s Olympic champion Becky Adlington has made a splash at the London Aquatics Centre to encourage Britain to get back in the water this summer.

Adlington joined Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams during the launch of the British Gas SwimBritain 2014.

Channel-conqueror Walliams and record-breaking Becky swapped swim notes as they kicked off their training ahead of the British Gas SwimBritain challenge, a programme that aims to encourage more people to swim more regularly and help the nation rediscover their love of the water.

Now in its second year, British Gas SwimBritain is supported by a host of big-name swimmers including fellow London 2012 medallists Ellie Simmonds and Michael Jamieson.

There are two ways to take on the challenge; SwimBritain1000 is a four-person relay where each team member swims 250m four times around a specially-designed course in a dedicated 50m pool.

SwimBritain500 is a shorter distance where team members use the same course, swimming half the distance (125m four times). Every participant will have access to two free coaching sessions to help them train for their challenge.

Back on dry land, Adlington and Walliams also completed the SwimBritain Fitness Test, a simple step up test that enables swimmers to track their progress as they train for the challenge. The Fitness Test is available online at swimbritain.co.uk and can be completed at home.

Adlington, who retired from competitive swimming at the age of 23 last year as Britain’s most successful swimmer, said: “I may have retired from professional swimming but I will always love being in the water and a challenge like British Gas SwimBritain is brilliant as it’s really inclusive – not just for professional swimmers.

“Swimming offers everyone a full range of health and fitness benefits so the more people we can encourage to swim regularly, the better. It’s a full body workout without any stress on the joints. A gentle half hour swim can burn up to 200 calories, so I’d love to see as many people as possible joining in and giving SwimBritain a go.”

For further information on venues, how to sign up your team and get training plans and tips, visit swimbritain.co.uk/