Swimathon 2018 launches on 27 April and this year hopes to raise at least £2 million to bring the overall total since its launch 30 years ago to £50m. Over the years, swimmers have raised funds for 36 different charities. This year, donations are going to Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.
This year’s event adds new options to make the world’s biggest fundraising swim more accessible to a wider range of people. For the first time Swimathon will include a 400m challenge and virtual MySwimathon challenge, as well as the existing individual 1.5k, 2.5k and 5k (the swimming equivalent of a half marathon) and team 1.5k and 5k challenges.
Swimathon is a pool-based event but the longer distances are a great early season distance challenge for swimmers planning to do open water events in the summer. The Swimathon Foundation is particularly keen to encourage women to sign up as swimming is one of the few sports where women’s participation is greater than that of men. Around 60% of participants in last year’s event were women.
This year’s event runs from 27 to 29 April in 600 pools and leisure centres around the UK. There’s also the flexibility to take part at any time during April, by signing up for the individual ‘MySwimathon’ challenge.
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Case Study – Wanda Stockdale
Wanda Stockdale from Gateshead was empowered to get back into swimming after a serious back injury when her physiotherapist suggested it as a great way to keep active. This will be her third year of taking part in Swimathon and to celebrate this she will complete three swims over the event weekend: 1.5km on Friday, 2.5km on Saturday and 400m on Sunday.
“As someone that got into swimming after a bad back injury, I love the water and how it makes me feel physically and mentally. 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,” she says.
“It’s a fantastic event, that anyone can be involved in, it doesn’t matter how well you swim, how far or how fast, the only thing that matters is that it’s your swim. It’s your challenge, your race and, on completion, your achievement and your medal!”
Wanda hopes to tackle the full 5k in 2019.
Listen to Wanda explaining how swimming transformed her life.