Swimathon 2018, the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim, launches on 27th April, the event this year aims to raise £2 million to reach the overall milestone of £50 million, raising more money than ever for great causes. In the 30 years since it began, Swimathon has raised a staggering £48 million, benefiting 36 different charities and this year welcomes Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie as its official charity partners and all fundraising will be donated to both charities.
Swimmers of all ages and abilities are being invited to take part in the annual sponsored event in pools across the country with women in particular are being targeted as swimming is one of the few sports with greater female than male participation. Around 60% of participants in last year’s event were women, and the aim this year is to get even more women swimming. Swimathon creates a welcoming and supportive environment combined with the many physical benefits that a session in the pool can bring. For many participants, swimming, along with many other activities in the water, can provide a full body workout that helps strengthen and tone all major muscle groups and can have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing in lowering stress levels and boosting energy and mood.
A great female Swimathon role model is Wanda Stockdale. Gateshead’s Wanda was encouraged to get back into swimming after a serious back injury when her physiotherapist suggested it as a great way to keep active. 2018 will be her third year of Swimathon and to celebrate this she will take part in three swims over the event weekend, 1.5km on Friday, 2.5km on Saturday and 400m on Sunday, with aspirations of the 5k in 2019. Wanda hopes her story will help to change the perceptions many woman have about swimming and inspire others to take the plunge and visit their local pool.
“As someone that got into swimming after a bad back injury, I love swimming and how it makes me feel physically and mentally.” she says, “For me swimming is not only about being active but the social side too. As a mental health nurse, I know the importance of social belonging and I can’t wait to take part in the 2018 event with my friends and raise money for two amazing charities.”
This year’s event is set to take place over three days from the 27th– 29th April 2018 and participants can choose from a range of solo distances and team challenges. With almost 600 venues across the length and breadth of the UK, Swimathon will be hosting a variety of sessions, ensuring that as many people as possible can get involved. There’s also the flexibility to take part at any time during April, by signing up for the individual ‘MySwimathon’ challenge.
Swimathon President and Olympic gold-medallist Duncan Goodhew was joined by Keri-Anne Payne for the 2018 launch and was full of pride. “It has been a real joy to see Swimathon develop and mature into the great event it is today, and raise so much money for so many worthwhile charities – with this year Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie being the two charity partners” he said. “Swimathon really gives people a chance to get active with friends and family, whilst doing some good at the same time. I am so proud that Swimathon encourages people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the water whether they are the next Mark Foster or a complete land lubber. We are encouraging as many people as possible to sign up”
To help attract more people to take part and get into the pool, for the first time Swimathon will include a 400m (16 lengths of a 25m pool) challenge and virtual MySwimathon challenge, as well as the existing individual 1.5k (60 lengths of a 25m pool), 2.5k (100 lengths of a 25m pool) and 5k (200 lengths of a 25m pool), and team 1.5k and 5k challenges. These new challenges will give swimmers more options and greater flexibility to be part of the Swimathon experience however they want.
Full details about Swimathon, how to sign up, and how to fundraise can be found at www.Swimathon.org.