SOUTH Lakeland residents swim more than anyone else in the country, according to a report released this week by Diabetes UK.

The area topped a poll of 221 English districts, with 11.5 per cent of people saying they are ‘regular swimmers’, meaning they take a dip at least once every week.

“Swimming is a great way to keep physically active,” said Paul Amadi, director of fundraising for the charity. “Clearly, people of the Lake District are already taking this message to heart and it is great to see that so many of them are swimming already.

“Whether this is because they have beautiful swimming locations such as Windermere on their doorstep or they are just doing it at their local pool like the rest of us, swimming is a great way of getting your regular physical activity.”

South Lakeland was followed by Mid Sussex and Richmond-upon-Thames, while Channel Swim starting point, Dover, came last in the poll.

But Derek Jones, head of operations at Lakes Leisure, said he is ‘not surprised’ - and said the number of people joining Lakes Leisure pools has increased by more than 100 per cent since last year.

“I can only put it down to the fact that we’ve got really great facilities in this area, with prices and opening hours to suit everyone,” he said. “Swimming is an enjoyable activity and is a great way to keep fit so it’s great news that lots of people in this area are making the most of it.”

Diabetes UK has published the league table to launch its Swim 22 challenge. Participants will be required to swim 22 miles - the distance across the English Channel - at their local pool, over a period of three months between February 22 and May 22. To sign up to Swim22 visit