Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Great Swim, UK’s biggest open water swim series enters, its 10th year this summer.

From Windermere in the Lake District and Alton Water in Suffolk to Royal Victoria Dock in London and Loch Lomond in Scotland, the Great Swim offers distances from 250 meters to a 10 km marathon swim and a new SwimRun event.

The Great North Swim in Windermere is held June 9th – 11th [see here for ½-mile, 1-mile, 2-mile, 5 km and 10 km races].

The Great East Swim in Alton Water is held on June 17th [see here for ½-mile, 1-mile, 2-mile and 5 km races].

The Suunto Great London Swim at Royal Victoria Dock is held on July 1st [see here for ½-mile, 1-mile, 2-mile, 5 km and 10 km races].

The Great Scottish Swim in Loch Lomond is held on August 26th [see here for ½-mile, 1-mile, 2-mile and 5 km races].

And how did this series come about? From a man with a passion for open water that knows no bounds: Colin Hill

He is innovative, creative, passionate, organized and articulate.

Hill was recently selected as an Honour Contributor (Administrator) in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in its Class of 2017. Hill will be inducted and honored on April 22nd at the 2017 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Windsor, England.

Hill has literally done everything in the sport, from race organization to ice swimming.

He is the visionary behind the Great Swim Series and developed the concept to make open water appealing to the general public.

He was also the Marathon Swimming Technical Operations Manager for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Olympic 10K Marathon Swim that Hill produced showcased the sport of open water swimming like never before.

He also appears frequently on British television programs and is frequently named as one of the 101 Movers And Shakers In The Open Water Swimming World.

After his Olympic success, Hill set up Chillswim and organizes the Big Chill Swim in Windermere in the Lake District of England. He also completed an ice swim in Windermere in 2013 and organizes the Chillswim Coniston – 5.25 miles End to End, the Big Chill Swim Salford, the Chillswim Boxing Day Dip, and the historic Windermere Cross Lake Swim in Windermere, England. Hill received the Open Water Ambassador of the Year award at the 2012 H2Open Awards and was nominated for the 2012, 2014 and 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year awards.*

He was the first person to swim from shore to shore across Kielder Water in northeast England in 2014 and was a speaker at the 2014 FINA World Aquatics Conference on The Future of Aquatics.

He crossed the English Channel in 10 hours 30 minutes and completed one of the fastest ice mile swims in history in 2013 in Windermere in 4.7°C water and 4.4°C air in 24:22. He has completed a two-way crossing of Windermere, was the age group 450m champion at the 2012 Winter Swimming World Championships in Latvia, won the 5 km Hellespont Race (200th anniversary swim of Lord Byron’s Crossing) in Turkey, completed a crossing of the Strait of Messina in Italy, did a Strait of Gibraltar crossing in 2011, and did swims including the Distance Swim Challenge in California, Setubal Bay in Portugal, and did a 48-mile 6-person relay in Loch Earne, Ireland.

Colin is a wonderful, tireless ambassador of the sport and has an eye for detail to make swims memorable, unique, competitive and safe for swimmers of all ages and abilities,” says Steven Munatones. “He can talk strategy with Olympians, he can discuss basic swimming strokes with newcomers, he can advise people how to create ideal safety nets in mass participation events. He works with FINA and he works with newbies; he works with sponsors and with local government authorities. His versatility is impressive.”

He has done it all…and he has decades longer to do even more in the sport…and the Great Swim is just one part of his legacy.

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