Great North Swim 2012 launch

Swimmers have taken to the waters of Windermere today for the official launch of this year's Great North Swim.

10,000 people are expected to take part in the three day event.

It is the UK's biggest open water swimming event and more than 9,000 places have already been taken.

Event director Alex Jackson says the field will also include Olympic medallists.

Organisers are also launching a new off-road running event in conjunction with the swim.

The 10k, half marathon and full marathon races will take place around Keswick.