This year, we're taking the ‘Every Body Swim' campaign to the Arla Great North Swim - showcasing that swimming is for everyone and that all swimmers should be celebrated.     

Everyone is welcome at the Arla Great North Swim, and we want as many people to experience the freedom and sense of belonging that comes from open and cold water swimming. So, no matter your age, sex, ethnicity, swimming experience, mental or physical ability - you can feel inspired to improve and enhance your health. 

We've interviewed Dr. Shahnaz Hassan, who lives in Coventry, on her experience of open water swimming.

How did you get into swimming? 

As I got older, I realised swimming was an important skill and tried to teach myself to swim. I eventually moved on to triathlon swimming 

I made the transition from pool and open water and I now regularly open water swim. 

What would be your advice for someone trying open water swim for the first time? 

My advice for anyone trying open water swimming is to stay calm, it can be very different to the pool, be mindful of your surroundings, focus on your breathing. 

What do you do and how does your work links back to swimming? 

I'm a Psychiatrist and I work in mental health, with a special interest in adult ADHD and we know exercise, including swimming is beneficial for our mental health, which releases endorphins and happy hormones and that can be beneficial for depression, anxiety, and beneficial to people with ADHD. The calming environment is helpful for people with sensory overload. 

What did you think of last year's Arla Great North Swim? 

I had the best time at the Arla Great North Swim last year and I can't wait to experience it again this year. The environment was fantastic, it was so well organised and of course swimming in the beautiful Lake Windermere.  

The Arla Great North Swim is back on 7-9 June 2024. Choose from six different open water swimming distances to suit all ages, abilities, and level of experience. Whether you're looking to get fit, improve your time, soak up some nature or raise money for charity, you‘ll be part of an amazing collective experience - guaranteed.  Dive into nature and join us at the UK's biggest open water swimming event. 

So, what do you say - see you on the shore? Find out more here.