By James Crook

triathlon swim 22 AugustFebruary 23 - Europe's biggest open-water swimming series, the Great Swim, has moved its event in Scotland to Loch Lomond after the 2012 race at Strathclyde Loch had to be cancelled because of the poor quality of the water and fears competitors would get ill.

Last year's Great Scottish Swim, due to be held in August, had to be cancelled over the high levels of pollution.

It followed an event two months previously when several swimmers had fallen ill after competing in another open water event there. 

Great Event organisers decided to pull the plug on their event  "due to concerns over levels of naturally occurring, but potentially harmful, blue green algae".

The decision to move the Great Scottish Event is an embarrassment to organisers of next year's Commonwealth Games, who are planning to use Strathclyde Loch to host the 1,500 metres open-air swim that is due to begin the triathlon competition at Glasgow 2014.

Event organisers Nova International expect over 2,000 participants from across the UK for the Great Scottish Swim on August 24 at the freshwater Loch situated around 25 miles north-west of Glasgow.

Fiona Logan, chief executive of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority said: "We're proud to be able to host the Great Scottish Swim and attract this exciting event to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

"This event attracts participants from around the country and will bring local economic benefits for businesses in the Park.

"In this, the Year of Natural Scotland, we are keen to encourage people to explore what's on their doorstep and experience the great outdoors.

"Our hope is that people taking part in the event and spectators alike will explore further afield and find out what else the National Park has to offer."

lochlomondThe Great Scottish Swim will take place at Loch Lomond this August

The event will join the other four events in the series, which attracts over 20,000 participants, in locations throughout the UK including; Lake Windermere in Cumbria, the Royal Victoria Dock in London, Salford Quays in Manchester and Alton Water Reservoir near Ipswich.

"Taking place in one of Scotland's most iconic locations, the Great Scottish Swim will undoubtedly be one of the most popular mass participation events of the year." said EventScotland chief executive Paul Bush

"The event promises to be an exciting day out for the whole family.

"Twenty thirteen is the year of natural Scotland, and I am sure many of this year's competitors will be attracted by the stunning scenery at Loch Lomond; from the water itself to the spectacular landscape surrounding it."

The event is aimed at people of all abilities, and competitors can choose from half-mile, one-mile and two-mile challenges, with an elite race also taking place.

"Twenthy twelve was an amazing year for sport in the UK," said Alex Jackson, event director at the Great Swim Series.

"We hope to see many of those who were inspired last summer come along and try a new activity like open water swimming in 2013.

"Swimming as an activity is very accessible, many of our participant's already swim at local pools and the next logical step is to take their skills to the open water -  if you can manage 32 lengths of a pool, you can complete a half mile swim - and have a great time doing it."

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