With temperatures screeching into the 30s, it’s ideal weather to strip off and dive into Clapham Common.
Yes, you read that correctly: thanks to The Big Dip, South London’s famous green space is now home to a temporary 25m heated outdoor pool and beach area.
Sponsored by British Gas, The Big Dip is an urban swim festival happening in London (June to July) and Manchester (July to August) that’s aimed at encouraging families to have fun in the water together. It’s part of a national campaign led by former Olympic bronze medallist Steve Parry to help more kids feel confident in the pool.
Shockingly, 1 out of 5 children today leave school without actually knowing how to swim. For black and ethnic minorities, that figure’s much higher.
Admittedly my little ones aren’t exactly water babes and I’m not much of a swimmer myself. I never learned to dive or do a proper front crawl and spent my teenage years dodging swimming class (yes miss, I’ve got my period yet again).
But I do remember how great it felt when I passed my first swimming test at age 9 and could finally cast off the arm bands.
Swimming is not only fun, refreshing and fabulous all-round exercise but it’s an essential life skill.
It was a near drowning incident as a child (he fell into a lake when he was 8 years old) that inspired Steve Parry (above, in the hard hat) to get into swimming. Now it’s his mission to help give young ones their water wings.
We had a lovely lunch with the very lively Parry at a special blogger presentation on The Big Dip, where he told us about his Pools for Schools programme and the long-term vision to create more opportunities for swimming in urban areas.
He also shared fun memories from his time as a pro swimmer – from being mistaken for Michael Phelps to greeting his wife after the Athens Olympics in 2004 wearing nothing but his Olympic medal and a cheeky grin. (Score? I’d call that #winning!)
We trust there won’t be any naked medallion men swinging at the Big Dip but do expect plenty of wet and wild action e.g. giant water slides, Aqua Zumba, mini water polo, beach volleyball and professional swimming coaching.
And at only £3 per head (1 adult ticket admits 2 kids under 12 free), you’ll get loads of splash for your cash.
We have 5 sets of family tickets (2 adults, 2 kids) to give away to The Big Dip in Clapham Common. Simply email us with the subject heading Big Dip by Sat Jul 2. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and notified by email.
The Big Dip runs until Jul 17 at Clapham Common before moving to Spinningfields in Manchester from Jul 30 to Aug 29. Visit www.bigdip.co.uk or follow @The_Big_Dip on Twitter for the latest updates