Swimming Events Guide 2024

Birthday swimmer to be youngest at Great North Swim

It’s quite common to hear of adult swimmers treating themselves to a birthday dip. It’s not so often you hear of youngsters plunging in to open water to celebrate. But on 11 June this year Tilly Barlow turns 12, which means she will be just old enough to take part in the Great North Swim on that day. She’s decided to do a half mile birthday swim on that day in memory of her grandfather and to raise money for the Stroke Association.

While Tilly is a confident swimmer she’s not a club member and stopped lessons when she was nine.

“I just enjoy swimming and playing in the water, especially outdoors,” she says. “Last year my mum completed the Great North Swim and after that we started swimming together in the River Dee, at Capernwray Quarry and in Lake Burwain.”

As for training this year, Tilly’s been going along to USwim sessions at Salford Quays, but she’s not targeting any particular time.

“I just want to enjoy the challenge on my birthday,” she says. “Open water swimming makes me feel free and peaceful.”

Tilly has also garnered the support of Aqua Sphere who have provided her with one of their RAGE youth wetsuits and a pair of goggles.

You can support Tilly at: https://www.justgiving.com/Tilly-Barlow

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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.