Over 1,500 swimmers are gearing up for the 2017 Suunto Great London Swim on Saturday 1 July, in the vibrant surroundings of the Royal Victoria Dock.  Swimmers of all ages and abilities will be tackling a range of distances, from a beginner’s half mile all the way up to the gruelling 10K open water marathon, in the heart of the East End.

Great Swim ambassador, Olympic Silver medallist and two-time world champion, Keri-anne Payne, will be on hand to cheer them on and impart some top tips to help them get the most out of the day.

Keri-anne said, “I’m such a huge fan of the Great Swim series and its brilliant to be able to see so many people enjoying the sport in such a unique location.

 “I've taken part in Great Swim events for many years, so I know there are a huge range of people who take part for many different reasons, whether its to complete a personal challenge, get fitter or raise money for a worthy cause.  I wish everyone the best of luck on the day and I can’t wait to see how they get on.”

Many of the swimmers taking part in the event will be raising money for a cause close to their hearts. Tony Sambridge, from Chingford in Essex, had his world turned upside down when his wife Gaille was diagnosed with breast cancer in the middle of 2015. Gaille went through an operation to remove the lump on her breast, followed by gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions. She was finally given the all clear in June 2016.

Macmillan Cancer Support helped the family through Gaille's treatment and Tony will be raising money for the charity tomorrow. He is taking on the 5k distance as a way of thanking them for their support and to play a part in the fight against cancer.

Tony, 64, said: “Gaille was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2015, a secret which she kept until the day after our youngest son's wedding as she did not want the day to be affected by her bombshell announcement.

 “During Gaille's diagnosis and treatment over the eight months of chemo and radiotherapy, we were supported by Macmillan, who were always there if we had any questions, concerns or needed information on the treatment.

“Finally Gaille was given the all-clear last June and I decided it was my turn to get busy.

“I had relatively high cholesterol of nearly 5.8 and after visiting my doctor I decided that I was going to change my life so I started swimming two evenings a week to get fitter. It then made sense for me to sign up to the Suunto Great London Swim but I wanted to challenge myself so I set myself the 5k distance.

“It will be a big effort for me but I am determined to take it on as Gaille has gone through so much herself over the last couple of years.”

The Suunto Great London Swim is staged in the shadow of the O2 Arena and Canary Wharf, and will finish alongside the ExCeL centre.

The event appeals to swimmers of all abilities, who will be supported by a team of expert safety kayakers and lifeguards.

The Suunto Great London Swim is the third Great Swim event of 2017 and part of Europe’s biggest open water mass participation swim series.

Alex Jackson, Great Swim Series event director said, “It’s fantastic to be back in the Royal Victoria Dock – the iconic location and instantly recognisable backdrop makes the event even more exciting for our swimmers.”

The Suunto Great London Swim is part of a great weekend of sport in the Capital, including the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run on Sunday 02 July at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where up to 10,000 participants are expected throughout the day.

The first wave gets underway at 08:00 and swimmers will be taking part throughout the day up until 14:00