11.5 per cent of people in South Lakeland swim at least once per week

Diabetes UK has taken data from Sport England to see who, in the UK, swims the most. People from South Lakeland come out on top with 11.5 per cent of adults saying they swim at least once per week. Other places where more than 1 in 10 of the population regularly swims this much include Mid Sussex (11 per cent), Richmond upon Thames (where our editor now lives – 10.7 per cent), Weymouth (10.4 per cent) and Cheltenham (where our editor grew up – 10.4 per cent).

At the other end of the scale, and somewhat surprisingly, Dover, the spiritual home of open water swimming, had the lowest participation in the country with only 4.7 per cent saying they swim at least once per week.
Diabetes UK published the study to coincide with the launch of its 2014 Swim 22 Challenge. This is Diabetes UK’s channel swim pool challenge where participants are asked to swim 22 miles (the distance across the English Channel) at their local pool (over a number of sessions). The challenge will take place between 22 February and 22 May 2014 and Diabetes UK hopes it will encourage more people to take up swimming as well as raise funds.
Paul Amadi, Director of Fundraising for Diabetes UK, says: “Swimming is a great way to keep physically active, which is really important for preventing Type 2 diabetes and or helping to manage diabetes if you already have it. This is why Swim 22 is such a great way to support Diabetes UK. As well as raising money to help us continue with our vital work in supporting people with diabetes and those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Swim22 can also be the spur you need to take swimming up and to challenge yourself to get fitter. Also, because you can do the 22 miles over three months, you can gradually build up your fitness and hopefully make swimming regularly a habit you end up sticking to.”
To sign up to Swim22 visit or call the National Events Team on 0345 123 2399.
To find out how many people in your area swim regularly visit:

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.