Since 2008 and the first ever Great Swim event, it's clear that open water swimming is a sport that always challenges expectations.

More than ten years and tens of thousands of swimmers later, the one constant has been the incredible diversity we've seen reflected in the participants.

They've shown that no matter what your body shape, your level of fitness, whether or not you live with a disability or your age, you can reach your goal in the open water.

This year Great Swim is celebrating this incredible diversity and challenge the wider world's preconceptions of who an athlete is.

The ‘Unexpectedly Great' Campaign will tell some of these inspirational stories and hopefully inspire many more people to think about what they could achieve through a Great Swim event.

82-year-old Bill Moore swam as a young man but didn't take up swimming again regularly until he was in his late 40s. Since taking the plunge again, he has set his sights on the open water and has also lost four stone.

He now swims three times a week and was awarded the Older Actives Champion title in 2015. Bill is constantly inspiring others and is proving that age is definitely just a number, having taken on a number of open water swimming events with his three sons and beating their times.

His next challenge is the John West Great North Swim on the weekend of 7-9 June at Brockhole-on-Windermere.

Bill said: “I first started to swim again in 1985, I was 48 and I heard that there was going to be a local 5,000m event in my pool. “It was probably 30 years on before I decided to do any real form of exercise again. “I was grossly overweight.

I previously had swum in school and was pretty good at it back then, so I thought it would be a good idea to revisit it.

“I trained and lost a lot of weight, it really did fall off me. I took part in that event and was introduced into master swimming. Since then I have swam all over the world and I am really glad I got back into it when I did.

“Swimming outdoors gives you a different sense of freedom. There are no lines on the bottom of the pool and you can just go out to swim. I like to swim in fresh water.

“As far as I am concerned the reason why I do this and keep active is because the most precious thing we have is our health. It doesn't matter how old you are. “I train with people who are of a similar age and think that it's brilliant that people embrace this because keeping active and focusing on you is something that's very important.

“I am a totally different person since I took up swimming. Not only do I feel better but I feel much younger in myself and think it's very important to make time to exercise as we get older.”

Not only does Bill enjoy open water swimming, he also does regular yoga sessions with his wife Betty to keep his flexibility.

Bill will join thousands of swimmers who will take on the challenge of the John West Great North Swim in the stunning Lake District. Hosted at Brockhole-on-Windermere, the event offers a range of distances to suit all abilities across an inspirational weekend of swimming in the great outdoors.

Bill added: “I think when I left school at 16, I only did a little bit of exercise – there was 30 years before I started again.

“I train three times a week and when my three sons and I took on an open water swim, it didn't really surprise me to finish ahead of them all because I had been putting a lot of training in. 

“If you're a little bit older and want to get into swimming I would tell people to go to the pool and make enquiries, there's lots of people and locations who do swim fit classes for beginners.

“See the attendants and teachers who will teach you the stroke to swim properly and it will be a great benefit.”

For more information about the John West Great North Swim and to enter, visit: