Swim star Ross Murdoch was on the bonny banks of Loch Lomond today (8 July) to meet some fellow swimmers ahead of this year’s Great Scottish Swim.
Set to take place in beautiful Loch Lomond on 29 August for the third consecutive year, the Great Scottish Swim gives participants the chance to swim in the picturesque surroundings of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
The distances range from a half mile course for those twelve and over to a one mile, two mile and even a gruelling five kilometre “half – marathon” swim, for seasoned swimmers looking to test themselves.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist, swimmer Ross Murdoch, was on hand to offer some top tips to the Gray / Connell family from Glasgow - three generations who are set to take part in the half mile distance. Headed up by Gordon Gray (55), the team also includes his son David (31) and grandsons Dylan and Darren Connell (14 and 12).
The family were joined by Jane Turner (68) from Renfrew who is taking part in the Great Scottish Swim for the first time. Jane will be taking part in her first open water swim to fundraise for Macmillan as thank you for the care support they provided her daughter in her battle with cancer.
Local Balloch boy Ross, who won the gold medal in the 200 metre breaststroke at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, will be tackling the highly competitive one-mile elite race, going up against some of the world’s best open water swimmers.
Ross, said: “It was great to meet Jane and the family today ahead of the Great Scottish Swim. I commend Jane for coming out of the pool and heading for the open water - trying something new a little later on in life is a big achievement. In terms of the family, seeing three generations take to the water is fantastic and really encouraging for the sport of swimming, both indoor and open water.
“Swimming in Loch Lomond is an incredible experience, the setting is so beautiful and it’s great fun on the day with an incredible atmosphere. With four distance options available there is a swim to suit all ages and abilities, and I would encourage everyone to dive in to the challenge and take part in the Great Scottish Swim.”
Swimmer Gordon Gray added: “Meeting Ross and listening to his top tips has been good motivation for the Great Scottish Swim in August. I’ve taken part in the swim five times previously but it will be the first time we have swam together as a family and we are all really looking forward to it.
“I encouraged my grandsons to get involved in swimming from a young age and this year we decided to swim together and try to raise money for charity along the way. We will be swimming for The Beatson Cancer Charity as a ‘thank you’. They’re a local charity and the treatment and support they provided to my mother prior to her death a few years ago was tremendous.”
Jane Turner added: “It’s been great to meet Ross today and to be in the surroundings of beautiful Loch Lomond. I swim five days a week but have never tried open water swimming before. I am really looking forward to the big day on 29 August and hopefully raising lots of money for Macmillan with every splash.”
Over 2,000 people are set to take the plunge at this year’s Great Scottish Swim on Saturday 29 August.
Alex Jackson, event director of the Great Swim Series at organiser Great Run Company said, “It’s great to have a big swimming star like Ross Murdoch here to support some of our participants before they take on the challenge of the Great Scottish Swim.
“I look forward to welcoming Jane and the Gray/Connell family along with thousands of other swimmers from all around the UK to the shores of Loch Lomond on Saturday 29 August to take part in this iconic event. Entry is still open so grab your wetsuit and join us!”
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland said: The Great Scottish Swim is a fantastic example of why Scotland truly is the perfect stage for events. Over 2,000 swimmers from across the UK will take to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park to experience open water swimming challenges in scenic surroundings which are second to none. This is a great event for participants and spectators alike.”
Mairi Bell, Head of Tourism at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “We’re delighted that Loch Lomond is the venue for the Great Scottish Swim for a third consecutive year and it’s particularly fitting that Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ross Murdoch, a local boy from Balloch, is swimming this year.
Not only is it a great event to be part of, it brings a huge economic boost to the local area and gives us the opportunity to showcase the National Park as a premier location for outdoor recreation opportunities. We’re really looking forward to another successful year”.
This year, the National Park Authority and Scottish Swimming have teamed up to provide coaching sessions on Sunday 23 July. Professional coaches will help you perfect your technique ahead of the big event. The one-hour sessions are great for those looking to try open water swimming for the first time or for experienced swimmers to build confidence and improve performance. For more information and to book, visit: www.scottishswimming.com
The Great Scottish Swim is the fifth and final event in the Great Swim Series, Europe’s biggest open water mass participation swim series that sees more than 20,000 swimmers compete in five events in lakes, lochs and urban docks across the UK.
Entries to the event are open at www.greatswim.org/Scotland