OLYMPIC hopefuls Anne Bochmann and Harrogate’s Oliver Dingley took time out of their busy schedule to promote this year’s Swimathon at the Hydro last week.
Now in its 25th year, Swimathon challenges participants to complete either a 2.5k or 5k distance and raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The event is taking place in 645 pools throughout the UK from April 27 to 29.
Anne - who lives and trains in Leeds - is confident it will be a success.
“It is about getting people involved in the sport, keeping them fit and raising money for charity,” said the 18-year-old.
“Millions of pounds have been raised in the past and hopefully this, being an Olympic year, will increase the profile and get more people in the pool.”
Both Anne and Oliver are now deep in training for their respective national trails which will determine whether they will represent team GB at this year’s games in London.
Anne, is one of the rising stars in her sport.
The Norwich-born competitor, finished fourth at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in the 400m Freestyle race, and ninth in the 400m Individual Medley.
“For me the next big event will be the national trials in March,” she said.
“It will be difficult because there are so many good British swimmers at the moment and I’d be competing against the likes of Becka Adlington and Joanne Jackson.
“But it’s a dream to swim in the Olympics, I watched the last one when Becka Adlington did so well, hopefully I can get there.”
Oliver, meanwhile, has upped his training schedule to 20 hours a week at his new base in Leeds.
The 1m springboard specialist came into focus after winning the European Junior Championships in 2010.
He said: “My main goal has always been 2016 and 2020. 2012 is a bit of an experimental year for me. I’ve got nothing to lose from it. It will be a very good year and a very fun year.”
The Swimathon launch was also attended by Harrogate GB Senior Ironman Bill Hitchcock.
Bill, sadly, had to pull out of his comeback event last year due to the onset of pleurisy, but after some much needed rest he’s eyeing a return to competition this year.
“Swimming is an important part of my training,” he said.
“It’s great for fitness and anyone can do it.”
Members of the public also took to the pool with the Olympic stars to show their support.
Kirstie Hamilton, from Harrogate, competed in last year’s event, and hopes to take part again.
“I lost a close friend of mine to lung cancer, just before Christmas last year, and wondered what I could do to help,” she said.
“I did the 5k swim, which is 200 lengths of the pool, and very gruelling. But it’s a good cause and very worthwhile.”