Swimathon celebrates its 30th yearKey figures from the world of swimming attended a reception at the House of Lords, Westminster on Friday to celebrate 30 years of Swimathon. The Lord St John of Bletso welcomed guests from across the sporting spectrum to celebrate the achievements of this extraordinary event. Swimathon is the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim and to date the total fundraising from the event has reached over £48 million which has been distributed among 36 different charities including the 2017 official charity partner, Marie Curie. Swimathon began in 1986, with its national launch taking place in 1988 and since then the event has seen over 500,000 participants at over 1,000 different pools across the UK, getting involved, swimming for the challenge and raising money for charity.
Guests that attended the reception included senior influencers from the swimming industry and charity sector, Sport England, Members of Parliament, Lords and participants and organisers from Swimathon, School Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon.
The Swimathon Foundation Chairman, Anthony Kendall OBE said, “It has been an incredible evening welcoming guests who have supported Swimathon over the years. We are very proud that since the Swimathon Foundation was founded in 1997 we have helped more people get into swimming, raised millions for great good causes and contributed £1million to swimming through our Community Grants Scheme.”
Swimathon President and Olympic gold-medallist Duncan Goodhew MBE said, “I have been involved with Swimathon since 1988 and over the last 30 years it has been a real joy to see it develop and mature into the great event it is today. Nowadays there are thousands of well organised sports participation events, mostly running and cycling, which raise money for charity but that wasn’t the case in 1988. Swimathon really was ahead of its time, giving people a chance to get active and do some good at the same time. I am so proud of both Swimathon’s longevity and its legacy.”
Swimathon looks to attract swimmers of all levels from experienced Swimathon participants to complete novices in the pools, and this is reflected in the different challenges available to those taking part. This year, more than 600 venues across the length and breadth of the UK hosted sessions, ensuring that as many people as possible had close access to a facility. The wide range of Swimathon challenges are designed to offer something for everybody. There are individual distance challenges from 1.5k to 5k or swimmers can share the workload by being part of teams taking on the team challenges.
At the 2017 event, four Swimathon “veterans”, Rory Fitzgerald, John Sharrock, Jim Wright and Paul Templeman-Wright completed a unique feat. Having taken part in every one of the previous 29 Swimathons, this year these incredible individuals each collected their 30th Swimathon medal and were awarded with an award at the House of Lords to mark this achievement.