David Walliams launches British Gas SwimBritain

David Walliams is encouraging Britain to get back in the water this summer as he takes on his first team swimming challenge. View David’s interview for ITV’s Lorraine programme.

Walliams will once again don his wetsuit to lead a team in the British Gas SwimBritain open water event at The Great Lake at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, on 1 September 2013.

View Steve Parry’s video guide below to the event which aims to get people back into the pool more often.

British Gas SwimBritain is a new programme which aims to encourage half a million more people to swim regularly by 2015, consisting of a swimming relay challenge for teams of four with each team member swimming a distance of 1000m. The event is open to swimmers of all abilities and will take place at ten pools around the country, and one open water venue, between 31st August and 29th September.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge has already completed numerous swimming challenges, including his heroic 140 mile swim down the River Thames for Sport Relief in September 2011. This time it will be ‘Team Walliams’ in the spotlight, with three lucky members of the public making up the Little Britain star’s swimming quartet.

Walliams, who was joined by Olympic swimming silver medallist Keri-anne Payne at the SwimBritain launch, said:

“Doing a swim challenge as a team will be a great motivation and a new experience for me, so I’m really excited to be taking part in my first team swim at the British Gas SwimBritain challenge. “Swimming is refreshing, relaxing and a great escape from everyday life, as well as being good exercise, so I’m encouraging as many people as possible to find their nearest event, team up and give it a go.”

Payne, the current open water swimming world champion, will also join Walliams in the water to lead her own team at Blenheim Palace.

Payne said: “There are ten SwimBritain pool events on offer around the country, as well as an open water event for the more adventurous swimmer, so everyone can set themselves a swimming goal this summer whatever their fitness level.

“A fast front crawl burns as many calories as an 8 mile per hour run, so swimming is a really great way to shape up and get healthy.”

Ready for an open water challenge? Steve Parry explains how to prepare in the video below (3m 57s).

With research by SwimBritain earlier this year revealing that nearly a quarter of Brits spend half their working week sitting down, British Gas is launching the SwimBritain programme to encourage the nation to get back in the water and get 500,000 more people swimming by 2015.

British Gas Commercial Director, Will Orr said: “We’re very excited that David Walliams will be joining us to take part in British Gas SwimBritain. His remarkable achievements in the water have shown that swimming challenges are not just for elite athletes.

“British Gas has been working in partnership with British Swimming since 2009 and is committed to getting more people swimming regularly. With the launch of SwimBritain we hope to inspire people of all abilities to get in the water and have some fun whilst keeping fit at the same time.”

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

About British Gas

  • British Gas has been the principal partner of British Swimming since 2009, from teaching children to swim to helping our top athletes perform on the world stage.
  • This year British Gas is launching SwimBritain, a campaign to create a healthier nation and get 500,000 more people swimming regularly by 2015.

British Gas SwimBritain events

As part of the British Gas SwimBritain programme, there will be team relay events at 11 venues around the country throughout August and September:

  • Saturday 31 August: Coventry Sports Centre, Fairfax Street, Coventry, West Midlands CV1 5RY attended by British Gas ambassador Ellie Simmonds
  • Sunday 01 September: The Great Lake, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1PP attended by British Gas ambassador Keri-Anne Payne and David Walliams
  • Sunday 01 September: Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheaf Street, Sheffield, West Yorkshire S1 2BP attended by British Gas ambassador Becky Adlington
  • Saturday 07 September: Sunderland Aquatics Centre, Stadium Park, Sunderland SR5 1SU attended by Olympian Aimee Willmott
  • Sunday 08 September: Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex, Gatting Way, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1ES attended by Olympian Chris Walker-Hebborn and Paralympian Susie Rodgers
  • Sunday 15 September: The Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Alexandra Park, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO2 9QA attended by British Gas ambassador Duncan Goodhew
  • Saturday 21 September: Manchester Aquatics Centre, 2 Booth Street East, Manchester M13 9SS attended by British Gas ambassador Keri-Anne Payne and Olympic medallist Steve Parry
  • Sunday 22 September: Cardiff International Pool, Olympian Drive, Grangetown, Cardiff CF11 0JS attended by Paralympian Gemma Almond and rising star of disability swimming Jack Thomas
  • Saturday 28 September: Hengrove Leisure Park, Hengrove Lane, Bristol BS14 0HR attended by British Gas ambassador Michael Jamieson
  • Sunday 29 September: London Fields Lido, London Fields West Side, London, Greater London E8 3EU attended by British Gas ambassador Mark Foster
  • Sunday 29 September: Royal Commonwealth Pool, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH16 5BB attended by British Gas ambassador Hannah Miley