David Walliams dons his wetsuit again at Blenheim Palace lake

The Little Britain star joined Olympic swimmers for a British Gas SwimBritain event at the royal World Heritage Site in Oxfordshire

To encourage the nation to get back into the water this summer, British comic David Walliams took the plunge in a mass swimathon at Blenheim Palace’s Great Lake.

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“My previous swim challenges were a test of endurance and stamina, but taking part in British Gas SwimBritain reminds me of why I love being in the water,” said Walliams.

This Oxfordshire event marked the first of a month filled with British Gas SwimBritain events. Meanwhile, Ellie Simmonds kicked off the series in Coventry on Saturday August 31 and London 2012 medallist Becky Adlington represented in Sheffield.

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SwimBritain events will take place across the country at 10 pools and one open water location, and SwimBritian coaching will be available in 100 pools around the UK. The initiative aims to encourage half a million more people to swim regularly by 2015.

“It’s such a refreshing way to escape the stresses of everyday life and doing a team challenge gave me a real boost – we were all cheering each other on and there was a real sense of comradery, so it was a completely different experience to my previous swims,” said Walliams.

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Paralympic swimmers Keri-anne Payne, Duncan Goodhew, Cassie Patten and Graham Edmunds joined the comic at the event.

Open water silver medallist Keri-anne Payne explained: “Many people don’t realise how much of a workout swimming is – a gentle half hour swim can burn over 200 calories – and the British Gas SwimBritain series gives you a chance to get friends and family involved too, which makes it so much more enjoyable.”

Swimming events across around the country will take place until September 29. To sign up visit swimbritain.co.uk

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Visit Oxfordshire with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details