By Tom Degun

swimmingMarch 18 - British Swimming has today announced a new four year rights deal with the BBC to broadcast swimming and other aquatic sports in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and beyond.

In addition, British Swimming will be partnering with the BBC to launch the Big Splash, a UK-wide mass-participation campaign, in a bid to get people into the pool.

Barbara Slater, Director BBC Sport said: "We have a rich heritage of covering aquatic sports on the BBC and are delighted to be in a position to continue this commitment at what is a key time for the sport with the London 2012 Olympics on the horizon.

"BBC Sport is also making a further commitment through the Big Splash, which we hope will encourage more people to get swimming across the country."

The initiative will focus on getting people who swim to have more fun more often and also encourage new people into the pool.

British Swimming will be working with the pool industry to offer a range of exciting activities including games for family fun, sessions at local pools to teach you to be a better swimmer and a comprehensive web-based support package.

The BBC will be providing a wide range of on-air initiatives in conjunction with some of its most popular programming brands.

British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes said: "The BBC has worked with swimming for many years and we welcome this renewed commitment from them as we follow the journey of our elite athletes to the Games in London and beyond.

"Everyone at British Swimming is also extremely excited about the launch of the Big Splash as we try and encourage more people to be more active through swimming."

The BBC coverage over the next year will include the FINA Diving World Series in Sheffield on April 15-16, 2011; the LEN European Synchronised Swimming Champions Cup in Sheffield on May 20-22, 2011; and The British Gas Swimming Championships which will take place at the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park in London from March 3-10, 2012 and serve as the British trials for the London 2012 Olympics.

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