Team GB Olympian helps launch Wattisham Airfield event

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Olympic silver medallist and two-time World Open Water Swimming Champion Keri-anne Payne was at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk this week to launch the 2017 Great East Swim.

The open water swimming event will return to Alton Water Reservoir on Saturday, June 17.

More than two thousand people of all ages and abilities regularly take the plunge at the Great East Swim, which offers the opportunity for everyone to take part — from first timers to experienced open water swimmers.

Distances range from a half mile up to the challenging marathon 10k swim, which is back by popular demand.

Payne, who finished eighth in the marathon swim at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said: “I’ve been involved in a lot of Great Swim events over the years and they’re always such a fun and rewarding experience to be a part of.

“I hope more people across Suffolk will be inspired to get involved in open water swimming this year.

“The idea of swimming in open water can seem daunting for some people but it’s an amazing feeling to take part with thousands of others in a picturesque location.”

Payne met personnel from Wattisham Flying Station who will be taking on the Great East Swim as part of their community engagement programme.

The group were also joined by representatives from two local charities who are encouraging people to take on the Great East Swim to consider fundraising for their worthy causes.

The Blossom Charity exists to enable women to make positive changes in their lives and provides a support network for anyone wanting to swim for charity, this includes social gatherings, group swimming sessions in open water and support through social media.

Inspire Suffolk uses sport as a way to enhance education and to bring people together, it encourages better health and making a difference to the lives of people living in the county.

The Great East Swim also includes an outreach programme, organised by Suffolk County Council, where people who are not confidently engaged in a sport are provided with an opportunity to push themselves in a challenging environment.

Entries to the event are open now, for more information and to enter, visit: www.greatswim.org/east