Snorkellers below the Minack (Rod Allday) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Snorkellers below the Minack (Rod Allday) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Registration has opened for Medway’s newest mass participation event – the Medway Big Splash.

The weekend-long event will showcase watersports, aquatics and water-based activity sessions, all culminating in the main event – a mass community swim challenge.

It takes place at Medway Park and Strood Sports Centres on 18 and 19 January 2014.

The swimming event builds on the success of the annual Medway Mile, which now attracts thousands of people of every age for a one-mile walk or run around Rochester.

The Big Splash, like the Medway Mile, is free to enter and is open to the whole community, from beginners to advanced swimmers, families and individuals.

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s housing and community services portfolio holder, said: “The Medway Mile truly captured the hearts and imagination of the people of Medway and is a wonderful legacy for us from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“As we now focus on the road to Rio, I’m delighted that we are building on this success by staging not just the Medway Mile, but also the additional mass participation swimming and cycling events to inspire yet more people to get active.”

The programme for the weekend has three main elements:

Medway Big Splash – Saturday, 18 January 10am-5pm at Medway Park and Strood Sports Centre: A day of pool-based family fun with taster sessions and lessons including diving and lifesaving, synchronised swimming, sub aqua and snorkelling, water polo and aqua zumba.

Family Big Splash Pool Party – Sauturday, 18 January at Strood Sports Centre (3-5pm) and Medway Park (6.30-8.30pm): Join Medway’s biggest pool party with inflatables and raft games, a family swim gala, races and medals and a pool disco.

The Medway Big Swim Challenge – Sunday, 19 January at Medway Park and Strood Sports Centre: We want to see how far Medway can swim in one day. Take up the challenge and swim between one length and one mile, as a team or individually, for charity or just for fun. Every participant receives a free souvenir t-shirt.

Pre-registration is essential for all sessions. The pool party is a free ticketed event and swimmers in the Big Swim Challenge will need to register and book a time slot at the pool of their choice.

For more information and to download registration forms visit http://www.medway.gov.uk/bigsplash or visit Medway Park or Strood Sports Centres to pick up an information leaflet and forms.

As a legacy of the Big Splash, Medway Sports wants to help as many non-swimmers as possible to learn to swim.

The Atlantis Swim Academy offers swimming lessons for all ages and abilities, from babies to teenagers and adults. Lessons are available at Medway Park, Strood Sports Centre, Hundred of Hoo Leisure Centre and Splashes Leisure Pool.

Bookings are currently being taken for October half term crash courses for junior beginners in swimming and diving, and for all classes in the January 2014 term which launches on Monday, 6 January. For more information visit http://www.medway.gov.uk/swimminglessons or contact your nearest pool.

In the build up to the Big Splash, a new programme of casual swimming advice sessions has also been launched at Medway Park. The On Your Marks sessions are aimed at adult non-swimmers and beginners to help you build confidence and meet the instructors before potentially signing up for a course of lessons.

An instructor is on hand to offer information and basic technique advice every Monday 9am –9.45am and 2.30pm-3.15pm for just £3 a session.

Medway’s other new mass participation event – the Big Ride – will take place in May 2014 as the launch event to the annual Medway Festival of Sport. For more information visit http://www.medway.gov.uk/bigride.

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