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Olympic swimming star O'Connor is out to get Scousers to take plunge; SWIMMING.

Byline: DAVID PRENTICE Head of Sport dave.prentice@liverpool.com @Prenno

SWIMMING world record holder Siobhan-Marie O'Connor has challenged Scousers to take the plunge this weekend at Wavertree Sports Park - and the Rio silver medallist will be there in person to offer tips on how to improve your front crawl.

The world record holder for the 200m individual medley, Siobhan struck silver in Rio in the same event and is spearheading Speedo's Dive In campaign, which is aiming to help adults swim their way to fitness.

Following her triumphant return from the Rio Olympics, O'Connor will be joined by Commonwealth silver medallist Grant Turner to pass on tips at the free 60-minute swim fit sessions on Saturday, September 24.

While Siobhan brought a silver home from Brazil, Team GB teammate Fran Halsall was cruelly denied a medal in the 50m freestyle by six hundredths of a second.

But Siobhan believes that Southport swimmer Halsall's experience and personality was integral to the team enjoying such a successful Games.

"Fran is one of the most experienced swimmers of the British Team and has always been so generous sharing her knowledge and experience with us," she explained.

"She is a very positive influence on the team and having raced in relay teams with her, she's a good person to be around at a championships.

"The squad is very close-knit and I firmly believe that was a huge contributing factor to the success of the team as a whole in Rio. Once Adam Peaty won the first medal of the Games, everyone was so excited to go out there and perform.

"Going away for long periods of time to train and compete can be quite stressful but everyone really gets on and so the atmosphere is always positive. At the holding camp in Belo Horizonte before we moved into the village, I wrote a quiz for the team including a 'Who said this?' section using old Facebook statuses. That led to some friendly banter!" Siobhan has visited Liverpool several times in the past, but on Saturday will spend her time purely in the pool.

"I have been to Liverpool a few times and have always enjoyed my time in the city," she added. "Unfortunately on this occasion I won't get to see much outside of the pool, but I plan to come back."

The Speedo campaign is offering 10,000 adults free swim fit sessions at 50 pools nationwide from May to October.

Dive In has been launched in response to new research from Speedo, which revealed that only one in three swimmers in the North West region could swim more than four lengths (100m) of front crawl proficiently, even though 65% of British adults recognised swimming as the best for a full body workout.

D espite being the highest participation sport in the UK, with 2.5 million people swimming once a week, the new findings from Speedo revealed that one in five people that can swim, said that learning to be a better swimmer would encourage them to swim more frequently.

People who turn up can expect to be taught the skills to improve their strokes.

Visit www.speedo.co.uk/dive-in for more information

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Great Britain's Siobhan-Marie O'Connor with her silver medal

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 21, 2016
Words:543
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