SWIMMERS at pools across York and North Yorkshire are set to take the plunge for a major charity event.

Olympian Duncan Goodhew is calling on people across North Yorkshire to sign up for Swimathon 2023.

READ MORE: Row erupts after York school rated 'requires improvement'

Duncan, who is Swimathon president, wants to highlight the annual fundraiser which raises money for Cancer Research UK and the end of life charity Marie Curie.

READ MORE: York woman in court charged with murder over fatal shooting and acid attack

He is urging people of all ages and abilities to enter the sponsored event taking place at pools across North Yorkshire from May 12 to 14, including Yearsley Swimming Pool in Haley’s Terrace, York; Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre in Ripon; Derwent Swim and Fitness Centre in Norton and Ryedale Swim and Fitness Centre in Pickering.

Duncan, who won an Olympic Gold medal for the 100m breaststroke at the 1980 Moscow games, hopes to inspire people in North Yorkshire to get off the starting blocks and help make a real difference to individuals, families and communities across the UK.

He said: “I swim as often as I can and will never stop championing this sport. The positive impact that it has both physically and mentally is undeniable, so I’m passionate about Swimathon because it helps to show that swimming is a fun, accessible, and exhilarating form of exercise.

“It is a truly inclusive event with so many ways to take part for every level of swimmer. You don’t need to be the fittest or the fastest. You just need to try your best and enjoy yourself, while fundraising for two important charities who need our support. So, I’m urging people to sign up now, head down to the pool and see how swimming can change their lives - as well as benefitting others.”

With a variety of distances to choose from - from 400m up to 30.9k - Swimathon offers a challenge for swimmers young and old, new and experienced. People can participate individually or as part of a team.

Any swimmers who can’t make one of the organised sessions can sign up to MySwimathon, which takes place from April 28 to May 21, and choose a time and venue that suits them.

With rising energy costs putting some community pools at risk of closure, it has been another challenging year for swimming. Not only does the event support vital charities, £2.50 from the entry fee of everybody taking part at an official Swimathon venue is donated to help protect these pools for the future.

Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Yorkshire Michaela Robinson-Tate said: “Swimathon is such a great way to encourage people to dip their toe in the water and get swimming. There’s no greater motivation for taking part than helping to support causes that are close to the hearts of so many.”

Marie Curie’s Director of Community Fundraising, Jayne Waterhouse, said: “The money that Marie Curie receives through Swimathon fundraisers goes towards helping our nurses, bereavement counsellors, and support line staff to deliver vital care and support to people with a terminal illness and their families across the UK. Do something amazing for your health and well-being and for people across the UK who are dealing with terminal illness – sign up for Swimathon.”

Sign up now at swimathon.org