Come on in, the water is lovely!

GALASHIELS,  UNITED KINGDOM - 14 Feb 2012'Borders Barmy Army get ready for "The Big Splash" at BSLT Swimming Pool, GALASHIELS'L-R'Richard Minnikin, Paul Mellor, Lee Myers, Stevie Mellor''(Photo by  ROB GRAY/digitalpic/freelance )

GALASHIELS, UNITED KINGDOM - 14 Feb 2012'Borders Barmy Army get ready for "The Big Splash" at BSLT Swimming Pool, GALASHIELS'L-R'Richard Minnikin, Paul Mellor, Lee Myers, Stevie Mellor''(Photo by ROB GRAY/digitalpic/freelance )

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The Big Splash is one of the biggest sport participation campaigns ever and The Southern Reporter has joined forces with Borders Sport and Leisure Trust to encourage Borderers to dive in, improving their health, having fun, and raising cash for charity in the process.

For as well as helping you make the most of your local swimming pools, the campaign has joined forces with Sport Relief to help change peoples lives across the UK and in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The Big Splash Mile for Sport Relief is being held over three days in April at Borders Sport and Leisure Trust pools across the region. You can tackle the mile (40 lengths of the pool) alone, with friends and family, or with colleagues as part of the Swimathon Weekend taking place April 27-29.

It is hoped pupils and teachers from the region’s schools will also sign up. Those who do will be entered into a draw for £200 worth of swimming tuition. The school with the highest pupil participation will be offered a free inflatable pool party.

Not sure if you’re ready to take on a mile? Well, don’t worry, thanks to Swimfit there is a dedicated training plan to get you up to scratch – visit www.swimming.org/bigsplash/activities/the-big-splash-mile-for-sport-relief for details.

You can even beat the winter blues as you train. Log your swims online and track yourself by Google Maps as you swim around the Caribbean island of St Kitts.

To register for the Mile click on the Big Splash icon on the BSLT homepage at www.bslt.org.uk. Once registered follow the ‘Training’ link to Swimfit and register for MySwimfit. Then it is down to you to train, raise money and enjoy.

So far 980 people in the Borderers have signed up for the Big Splash Mile, including groups from Asda in Galashiels, The Barmy Army, Longridge Towers School and Holy Trinity School, both Berwick, Gala Canoe Club, and Sports Direct in Berwick.

Richard Minnnikin of the Borders Barmy Army said: “We are about to undertake a series of fundraising activities all in aid of achieving a target of £10,000.Since the Borders Barmy Army are an official fundraising board for Macmillan this means every single penny raised will stay locally in the Scottish Borders. Our main event in our 2012 campaign is the National 3 Peaks Challenge – which involves climbing the three highest mountains in the UK in just over 24 hours – on August 4, but we’re getting our sponsorship off to a great start by taking part in the Big Splash, here at Galashiels Swimming Pool.

“Borders Sport and Leisure Trust are kindly providing the use of the pool for training for the event and also providing coaching for event participants through fitness training, both at Galashiels Pool and at Tweedbank Sports Centre.

“If anyone wishes to become involved in either our three peaks challenge or Big Splash effort, sign-up forms can be obtained from reception at Galashiels Swimming Pool, and also online at www.bordersbarmyarmy.com.

“Borders Barmy Army is looking for local businesses to become involved with the three peaks so if you think your business can contribute to cancer care in the Scottish Borders then get in touch by calling me on 07967 601722.”

Pools will be offering a number of exciting Big Splash activities in the run up to the event, including water confidence classes, family fun, learn to swim lessons, as well as improver sessions to teach you to be a better swimmer. Pool users will also be able to benefit from comprehensive web-based support on www.bigsplash.co.uk where they will have access to a range of training programmes and tips which will help whether you’re a beginner or a little more advanced; the chance to track your progress, including virtual challenges such as swimming the Thames and a chance to become part of the Big Splash online community.

Double Olympic champion Becky Adlington is supporting the campaign: “Swimming is my life but just getting in the pool a couple of times a week is a really great way of getting active and staying healthy. I’m right behind anything that encourages people to take the plunge and swim more often.”

Wouldn’t it be great if the Borders acheived the highest percentage of the population participating in the event? Well, to help you make a splash, Border Sport and Leisure Trust are offering every reader who signs up to take part in the Big Splash Mile the chance to swim at their local BSLT pool for only £1 a session.

To take advantage of the offer, visit www.bslt.org.uk

So what are you waiting for, start making waves today.