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Members of Britain's oldest swimming club will stand proudly on the side of The Serpentine today as the Women's Olympic 10km Marathon Swimming competition takes place in their iconic lake - and all will be cheering for Keri Anne Payne.

Dating back almost 150 years, members of The Serpentine Swimming Club dive into Hyde Park's historic lake every single day of the year - even breaking though ice during the winter months.

Serpentine Swimming Club Secretary Brian Thomas said:

"We feel very proud that the 10km Marathon Swimming event is taking place in The Serpentine Lake - which truly is a beautiful oasis in the centre of London. The Serpentine Swimming Club is a unique club, with members ranging from 10-years-old to 89 racing against each other every Saturday in our handicap races - the most famous being the 100-yard Peter Pan Christmas Day Race. But today, it is a special day for Hyde Park and for the Serpentine Swimming Club as the greatest long distance swimmers compete in the waters of our famous lake."

The Royal Parks Chief Executive Linda Lennon CBE said:

"Created in the 1730s for Queen Caroline, Hyde Park's Serpentine Lake is etched in history and hosting the Olympic Marathon Swim will add another jewel to this crown. The Serpentine Lake has been used by swimmers for hundreds of years. Come sun, rain and even snow - we have swimming every single day of the year in The Serpentine, but to host an Olympic event here in Hyde Park is truly special."

The Serpentine Swimming Club's longest serving member Alan Lacy, 89 from Harefield said:

"I joined the club in 1948, the same year of the London Olympics and I still have my ticket from watching the Olympic Wrestling at Earls Court for three shillings and a six-pence. I swim in 'The Serp' every Saturday and I love it, the water is fantastic and it's very soft. I swim everyday in my pool at home, but there is something about open water swimming where the temperature is not controlled nor is the chlorine level - The Serp is a fantastic lake."

The Women's 10km Marathon Swimming competition starts at noon on 9 August, with 25 athletes swimming six laps of a course in The Serpentine. The men's event will also take place at Hyde Park on 10 August.


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