A group of swimmers had the opportunity to meet 2018 Commonwealth Bronze medallist Marc Austin in Loch Lomond today (Friday) ahead of the Great Scottish Swim, which takes place on Saturday 25 August.


Marc, who took third place in the Triathlon on Australia’s Gold Coast earlier this year, and recently featured as part of Team Scotland in the Glasgow European Championships, was on hand to share advice to the group on how to get the most out of their event experience.


Glasgow-born Marc trains at the University of Stirling, which has produced some of Scotland’s most exciting swimming talent over the last five years.


The inspirational swimmers from across Scotland have all signed up to the popular one-mile distance at the Great Scottish Swim and are taking part for a variety of reasons that are close to their hearts.


James Bain, from Glasgow, is taking on his first-ever open water swimming challenge this year after his four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. 


He is swimming for Snac, a network charity that provides support to children across Scotland with arthritis and their families.


Lesley Martin, from Cumnock in East Ayrshire, is swimming for Stamp Out Suicide, after supporting her daughter through mental health problems, which resulted in her attempting to take her own life.


Lesley aims to take on the Great Scottish Swim to aid in raising awareness about the prevention of suicide, after the charity supported the family during her daughter’s battle.


Sheina Jamieson, from East Kilbride in Glasgow, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2002 and has signed up to the Great Scottish Swim as her next physical challenge.


Sheina only has the full use and power of one of her legs but is determined to complete her swim to raise awareness about her condition and to prove it does not hold her back.


They will be joined by an expected 2,700 others in Scotland’s biggest open water swimming event, with participants of all ages and abilities taking on a range of distances from the new Swim250 distance, for anyone aged eight and up, all the way through to the gruelling 10K marathon swim.


Set in the stunning surroundings of one of Scotland’s most iconic locations, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the event will mark the close of the 2018 Great Swim Series.


The 2018 Great Scottish Swim Elite Race sees a strong domestic field take to the starting pontoon over the 1 mile distance. Headlining a great men’s field is recent 2018 European Championship Relay Gold and Bronze Medallist, Stephen Milne, who will be competing against fellow Rio Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Dan Wallace. Although recently retired from the pool, Wallace is looking for one final farewell to competitive swimming at Saturday’s race.


In the women's race, British international Danielle Huskisson may start favourite after an impressive season which saw the University of Stirling swimmer compete in the European Open Water Championships earlier this month. Huskisson will be joined by recent 10km Scottish Open Water Championship winner Daisy Hill and Masie McCartney who only this week gained selection for the World Junior Open Water Championships in Israel next month.


Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Having the chance to take part in an open water swim in one of Scotland’s most beautiful Lochs, which only a few weeks ago hosted Europe’s best swimmers as part of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, is very exciting for everyone taking part. 


“EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of the Great Scottish Swim to showcase Scotland as the perfect stage for events.”


With charity stalls, retail concessions and a number of food concessions at Loch Lomond Shores for both swimmers and spectators, the event is a great day out for the whole family.


Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “With the growing popularity of open water swimming, the Great Scottish Swim has become a key event in the National Park Calendar. Loch Lomond is a fantastic setting for the event and the recent success of the European Championships open water swimming being held here has shown it’s truly a world class venue. 


“It’s always great to see so many people taking on the challenge and hearing their inspiring stories. Whether you’re an elite swimmer or a first-timer, I welcome everyone to Loch Lomond and wish everyone taking part the best of luck!”


Alex Jackson, Great Swim Director, said: “As the largest and most well established series of open water events in the UK, Great Swim offers an amazing open water event experience to participants, whatever their motivation.


“We’re privileged to be able to finish the series in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, our swimmers relish the opportunity to experience this incredible location


“We’re expecting swimmers of all ages and abilities from across Scotland, around the UK and further afield.”


For more information and safety advice on swimming in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park go to: https://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/things-to-do/water-activities/swimming/