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Scottish swimmers compete in European Special Olympics

A pair of swimmers from the Border region are in action this week at the Special Olympics European games.

They've travelled from Dumfries and Galloway to Antwerp in Belgium, to take part in the sporting event for those with learning disabilities.

Lauren Hall's been finding out how they're getting on.

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The Big Chill

Five hundred swimmers brave the cold in order to take part in the open water event at Coniston.

Early swimmers take to the water. Credit: ITV Border
Safety boats on hand to protect those taking part. Credit: ITV Border
Competitors tackle the five mile course around the lake. Credit: ITV Border
The final finishers expected to hit home around 3pm. Credit: ITV Border
Idyllic setting and conditions for the race. Credit: ITV Border

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Borders swimmer selected for Glasgow 2014

Lucy Hope from the Borders will compete in Glasgow this summer Credit: Team Scotland

A swimmer from the Scottish Borders has been selected for the Commonwealth Games. Lucy Hope, who's from Melrose, will compete in the 4x200 metre freestyle event at the Games which begin in Glasgow in July.

Team Scotland is sending its largest ever Aquatics Team Credit: Team Scotland

Team Scotland is sending its largest Aquatics team ever to a Commonwealth Games, with 38 swimmers and two divers selected for Glasgow 2014. Scotland has won a total of 73 medals in aquatics(including 20 gold), more than any other sport.

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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