Ready for a challenge in 2018? Visit GreatSwim.org to be the first to find out when next year's events open.

With over 15,000 participants diving in for fun, fitness, fundraising or to try a new challenge, 2017 has been an eventful year for the Great Swim Series.

With the introduction of two new events for Europe’s biggest open water swimming series, along with thousands of inspiring stories behind why each swimmer has took the plunge, below are the highlights from the last 12 months:

1. Celebrating 10 years of Great Swim

In 2017, the Great Swim Series celebrated its 10th anniversary. For ten years, Great Swim has provided thousands of swimmers with exhilarating, challenging and safe events, whatever their age or ability. Since 2008, participants have dove into lakes, lochs and urban docks across the last decade and we can’t wait for the next 10!

2. SwimRun

2017 saw the staging of the brand new SwimRun events in both Windermere and Suffolk.

The SwimRun concept was born in Sweden, and is based on teamwork, passion, and closeness to nature, teams of two embark on a journey across the landscape, taking on land and water. 400 people took on a variety of distances at SwimRun this year.

3. A Truly ‘British’ Great North Swim

In typical British fashion, June saw the weather take a turn for the worse for the 10th anniversary of the Great North Swim.

Despite high winds, rain, ponchos at the ready and the cancellation of the Sunday programme, the weather did not dampen the spirits of all those who were able to take to Windermere for the iconic event.

4. A Scorcher in Sunny Suffolk

Thousands donned their wetsuits and cooled off in Alton Water at the Great East Swim in June.

Swimmers, crowds and spectators were treated to glorious weather as the sun glinted off the calm waters of the manmade reservoir.

5. 3,000 make waves in Loch Lomond

Swimmers joined Olympic athletes at Scotland’s biggest open water swim in August. 3,000 people took on a variety of distances before the elite swimmers took to the water at one of the UK’s most iconic locations, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

6. Swim250

The Great Swim Series became more accessible to all ages and abilities this year with the introduction of the Swim250 distance.

The 250 metre swim was available to anyone age eight years old and over and took place at the Great North Swim and the Great East Swim.

Swimmers of all abilities took part to test the water and get a feel for swimming in the great outdoor surroundings.

7. Blossom Bloomed at Alton Water

The Blossom Charity were out in full force at the Great East Swim, donning their trademark colourful floral swimming hats for the occasion.

The Suffolk-based charity are regulars at Alton Water and 15 women took on a variety of distances this year. We salute you ladies!

8. Claire Allan’s Inspiring Swim

Inspirational Claire Allan took on this year’s Great North Swim in memory of her mum Sally,who tragically lost her life to mental illness.

Claire and her family set up the Sally Allan Fund after Sally took her own life on Boxing Day 2015, as the result of a private battle with mental illness.

The fund was created to help reduce stigma and raise awareness of mental health problems and to create better mental health in the North East.

9. Nick’s Mammoth Macmillan Challenge

Paramedic Nick Williams took on a huge 76 events for Macmillan last year, including the Great East Swim.

Nick, wanted to be able to play an active roll in helping others after his father was diagnosed with cancer. He embarked on a career as a paramedic and began to fundraise for Macmillan Cancer Support, including swimming the 2-mile distance.

10. Age is just a Number for Naomi

One of the most inspiring moments of the Great Scottish Swim was when 81-year-old Naomi emerged out of Loch Lomond, having completed the 2 mile distance.

Naomi also took on 5k at the Great North Swim showing age is definitely just a number!

Ready for a challenge in 2018? Visit GreatSwim.org to be the first to find out when next year's events open.