The 'Big Summer Splash 2012' is a major swim festival, comprising two fully-heated and life guard-patrolled pools that have been specially erected in the car park of the Surrey Quays Decathlon Store. Supported by British Swimming, and sponsored by Decathlon UK and Speedo, the festival is running from the 23rd July to the 2nd September, 2012, and the general public is invited to try out a range of water-based activities for free. Support through Sport UK's Helen Keeling caught up with former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies to find out more …
 
Hi Sharron. So why would you encourage families to visit the Big Summer Splash?
 
As a parent and someone who is passionate about swimming, I'm delighted to be part of a project that makes swimming easily accessible to the local community. As well as being an important life skill, swimming is a great way to have fun with the family and I really encourage everyone to come and try out this fantastic facility.
I heard earlier that apparently Britain is one of the most sedentary nations in the world, so why not help to change that by bringing your children here to take advantage of the free coaching?
 
The summer's not been very, erm, summery thus far. This shouldn't affect The Big Summer Splash though should it as visitors will be getting wet anyway?
 
Yes - although it might be an idea to bring a brolly! The two pools are fully-heated, so it should be quite pleasant in the water!
 
The Big Summer Splash is also offering snorkelling, aqua fit, water polo, zorbing and octopush. Have you tried any of these?
 
I scuba drive regularly. I also windsurf. That's the beauty of swimming - once you become a confident swimmer, there's a whole host of other water-based activities that you can then go on to try.
 
Why would you encourage people to take up swimming?
 
Swimming's not a weight-bearing sport - so there's less chance of picking up any injuries. I also find that going for a swim is a great way to get some peace and quiet.
 
Is swimming accessible to old people and disabled people?
 
Yes - absolutely. It really is an all-encompassing sport that doesn't preclude anyone.
 
And what about young people? At what age can you realistically start?
 
I got my three children swimming as soon as they'd had their jabs! Two of them were also born in water!
 
Given that the world's best swimmers will be just down the road next week, do you think any of them might stop by after their events and de-stress with a bit of snorkelling?!
 
Maybe! I'd imagine that some of them will also have a scout around this absolutely massive Decathlon store! My daughter is a really good pentathlete, so we're going to try and find her some new sports clothing a little later. 
 
The London 2012 Olympic swimming events commence on the 28th July. Who are Team GB's 'ones to watch'?
 
The girls' team is really strong. We have medal chances in all the strokes - except maybe the breaststroke - but who knows. There's Rebecca Adlington, Fran Halsall, Ellen Gandy, to name but a few.
 
And the London 2012 Paralympic swimming events kick off on 30th August. Who are ParalympicsGB's 'ones to watch'?
 
I spent some time with Ellie Simmonds recently and she's 17 now and, once again, a really exciting prospect. The support that Great Britain gives its Paralympians is fantastic. At previous Paralympics, the BBC was the only broadcaster that was doing live streaming.
 
And, finally, do you wish you were competing in the home Games?
 
This will be my tenth Olympics. I've competed in three and worked as a broadcaster at six. I still love swimming, but I spent 20 years doing six hours of swim training a day - so it's nice to be able to focus on other things as well these days!