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Big Chill swim massive success

Organisers of this years Big Chill swim, which took place in Windermere on Saturday, say it was a massive success.

Five hundred and eighty people aged between sixteen and seventy took part, that's more than double last year's turn out.

Swimmers from across the world made their way to the Low Wood Bay Marina and braved the minus five water temperature to take part.

Organisers Chillswim are hailing it as a massive success, with spectators standing in the rain for 7 hours to cheer on the competitors.

“The weather over the weekend was challenging to say the least and we’d like to thank both spectators and participants for their support.”

– Colin Hill, Big Chill swim organiser

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Big Chill Swim in Windermere

Big Chill Swim
More than 500 took part in the Big Chill Swim Credit: ITV Border

The Big Chill Swim at Low Wood Bay Marina on Windermere is now in its second year.

It's grown from around 200 participants last year to 570 who took to the water today.

Wet suits are not allowed so the swimmers have to brave temperatures of 6 degrees Celsius with just swim suits and trunks.

Organisers explain appeal of the Big Chill

The event has been organised by Chillswim, which is run by Colin Hill and Steph Cox, from High Wray near Hawkshead, who are also both accomplished winter swimmers.

I think The Big Chill 2014 will be a fantastic event. I am very pleased by the number of people who are taking part. Winter swimming has really taken off in the UK in the last year, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this movement with our International Winter Swimming Association event. Winter swimming can seem like a very odd idea to the uninitiated, but the sense of wellbeing and exhilaration you get when you have finished the swim is quite incredible. All your endorphins kick in. It is an amazing, life-affirming experience.

– Colin Hill Organiser

Nearly six hundred to take the plunge

It is not for the faint hearted, wetsuits are not permitted and the water will be below five degrees, but hundreds of swimmers have signed up to race over 30, 50 and 450 metres as well as an epic 1000 extreme event for the very experienced cold water veterans.

Top level competitors include Estonian winter swimming endurance world champion Henri Kaarma and the head of the International Winter Swimming Association Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen.

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