Olympian Sharron urges fundraisers to go in at the deep end this summer

Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion Sharron Davies is urging people to have a splashing time this summer by signing up for the Jane Tomlinson Yorkshire Swimming Festival.

The former golden girl of the pool has thrown her support behind the event which includes 500m and 1,500m open water swims and - new to the festival - an aquathlon, a combination of a 1k swim and a 5k run.

Swimmers will take the plunge at Pugney's Country Park, near Wakefield, on Sunday 23rd June, with the
first entrants taking to the water at 9am.

Sharron, who swam for Great Britain aged just 13, said: "Jane Tomlinson was an incredible inspiration, whether she was running, walking or swimming.

"I hope people are inspired by her amazing courage to take part in the Yorkshire Swimming Festival and push their limits to do something new.

"The festival is a great event for all abilities and this year's Aquathlon will be an extra challenge. Sign up now - and make a splash in 2013."

Whether it's a personal challenge, a new way to raise money for charity or a training swim for a future aquathlon or triathlon, the 1500m challenge is the ideal opportunity for anyone aged 16 or over. If 1,500m seems too daunting, the adult 500m event offers a great introduction to open water swimming.

And for youngsters keen to make waves for charity
the festival includes a 500m junior swim open to 12 to 17-year-olds.

With on-site training sessions available in advance of the events and lots of support on the day, the festival is an opportunity to experience open water swimming in a safe, fun and friendly environment.

The sprint distance aquathlon forms part of the Yorkshire and Humber Senior Championship series and includes a 1k swim followed by a 5k run - two laps of Pugneys lake.

A youth aquathlon, which takes in a 400m open water swim and 5k run, is open young people aged 16 and 17, while the Tristar 3 aquathlon - a 300m swim and 3k run - is available for those aged 13 and 14.

Swim For All event director Sara Birkinshaw said: "Our Swimming Festival is a completely different challenge to our runs and walks. If you've never swum in open water before, give it a go, because it's great fun!

"It's very safe as we do a full safety briefing beforehand and we have canoeists on the water guarding your every stroke. The wetsuit gives you
added buoyancy, too. And, as it's in June, fingers crossed the sun will be

The Yorkshire Swimming Festival is sponsored by Wakefield Council, Wakefield Triathlon Club, Real Radio and the Yorkshire Evening Post.

For full details and to enter go to www.forallevents.co.uk/swim-for-all/