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Swimming in the Thames banned

David Walliams attempting his 140-mile charity swim of the Thames last year. Credit: London Tonight.

Swimming in the Thames in London is to be banned from Sunday.

A new bylaw makes it an offence to swim in the river between Crossness, near the Thames Barrier, and Putney Bridge without written permission of the Port of London Authority.

It is being introduced after interest in “wild swimming” in rivers surged following comedian David Walliams’s 140-mile charity swim of 140 miles of the Thames in eight days last year.

A spokesman for the authority, which is responsible for the tidal part of the river, said:

"Often the result is tragic. It’s not just the swimmer’s life at risk. If a boat spots a swimmer in the water and has to take evasive action, other lives could be at risk.

“The Thames is getting busier with commercial traffic and increasing numbers of leisure boats.

It is not the place for swimming.”

The Environment Agency, responsible for the Thames from west London upstream, said it was not introducing an outright ban but warned “the Thames is not a swimming pool”.

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Warm up for Borough Swimming Championships

Swimmer warm up for the Six Host Borough Swimming Championship Credit: ITN

Hundreds of London school children joined in for the Six Host Borough Swimming Championships in the Aquatics Centre. It's the first community event in the Aquatics Centre put on by the Legacy Company.

The Legacy Company have said that this will be a community facility after the Games. They say it will be affordable and accessible with 90% of its use for the community and the price of a swim the same as the average price for a swim in other nearby pools.

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