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Take the Plunge with Swimathon

March 16, 2018

We could all take some inspiration from the Old Crocks  - Ann, Joyce, Ethel and George entered the Swimathon at Carlisle Pools in 2016 (pictured above)

They have a collective age of nearly 300yrs. Before the Swimathon neither had swam more than 2 lengths.  Once they had signed up for the one mile Swimathon, they trained during the morning Swim Doctor sessions at Carlisle Pools and were clocking up 10 to 15 lengths each!

Swimathon 2018 is the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim, and 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. This year Swimathon 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 and raise money for both charities.

Women in particular are being targeted as swimming is one of the few sports where women’s participation is greater than that of men.  Up to 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 example of a woman who has taken part in Swimathon is Wanda Stockdale. Wanda from Gateshead was empowered to get back into swimming after a serious back injury when her physiotherapist suggested swimming as a great way to keep active. Wanda is also a success story from Sport England’s This Girl Can Campaign. 2018 will be her third year 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. 

Wanda Stockdale said: “As someone that got into  swimming after a bad back injury, I love swimming 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.”

Since Swimathon started in 1988  over 700,000 swimmers have dived into at 1,000 different pools across the UK raising money for charity.

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 said: “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. 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.

Swimming, and many other activities in the water, can be a good form of physical activity for people who might find it difficult to stay active in other ways or who have difficulties with mobility. This is because it can be easier on jointsby  making it easier for some people to move and support their body weight.

Being more active can help to you keep a healthy weight, which can have a big impact on reducing the risk of diseases such as cancer and dementia. It has been shown to reduce the risk of 13 different types of cancer, including some of the most common – breast and bowel cancer. Keeping active can also help reduce your risk of early death, heart disease, stroke and  Type 2 diabetes.

Full details about Swimathon, how to sign up and how to fundraise can be found at;  www.Swimathon.org