London Fields Lido voted most popular UK outdoor pool

65a_swimathon_2011_web_imageA survey of 36,000 swimmers has revealed London Fields Lido in Hackney as the most popular outdoor pool in the UK. 38% of respondents to the largest-ever opinion poll of its kind (commissioned by Swimathon, the world’s biggest fundraising swim) preferred swimming outdoors.

Other pools, lidos, and wilder spots that made the top ten lists include Ponds Forge in Sheffield as the UK’s favourite place to swim, Windsor’s Dorney Lake, Crystal Palace, Manchester Aquatics Centre and Cardiff International Pool; the lidos at Tooting Bec (London) and Jesus Green (Cambridge); and Hampstead Heath Ponds, Lake Windermere and Coniston Water.

Having all completed at least 1.5k in recent Swimathons, 1,811 respondents are swimmers of varying ages and abilities – from occasional paddlers to club competitors.

Swimathon is set to hit 580 pools across the UK between 8-10 April 2011, when over 20,000 swimmers will aim to raise more than £2 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Swimathon Foundation. These funds will help support Marie Curie Nurses who provide free nursing care to people with terminal cancer and other terminal illnesses, in the place of their choice. The charity expects to care for over 29,000 terminally ill patients in the community and in its hospices this year. For the 2nd year in a row, London Fields Lido has been the highest fundraising pool in the country, raising an amazing £26,000. So far, the capital’s only heated outdoor swimming pool has the most amount of swimmers registered in the UK for Swimathon 2011.

Swimathon President and Olympic gold medallist Duncan Goodhew commented: “As we approach a quarter of a century of Swimathons, this survey shows that we really are a nation of swimmers. That some of the pools and outdoor locations on the lists are so well-loved is no great surprise, but some are a genuine revelation – even to an old doggy paddler like me! Also, I can’t say I’ve ever shared the more outlandish thought patterns that some people fall into as they rack up the lengths, but each to their own!

“Of course, it really doesn’t matter where you swim, where you dream about swimming and what you think about as you’re doing it.

Now in its 24th year, over half a million swimmers have taken part in Swimathon, swimming the equivalent of 24 times around the world and raising more than £34 million for charity.

Sessions for the 1.5k, 2.5k or 5k challenges are starting to sell out. To reserve a place visit the Swimathon website or call 0845 36 700 36.