An Open Letter From Duncan Goodhew

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Alongside many others, I continue to watch with absolute awe the incredible medal winning performances of Team GB in the pool at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. But as I roared home Adam Peaty, Tully Kearney and co from my front room, I couldn’t help but think about the huge difficulties that recreational swimming has faced over the past 18 months and will continue to face across the UK.

Pools have had to lay dormant for large periods of time, session capacities and times have been massively restricted and, most heartbreaking of all, young children have been denied the chance to learn to swim. I am so pleased to see that the swimming industry is starting to open back up and that pools are beginning to be able to operate with some semblance of normality again. 

However, the reality is that this industry needs the most important thing of all to make their return properly complete – you! Swimming pools with empty lanes aren’t sustainable and now is the time to support swimming and support your local pool; because without you, some of these venues may cease to exist in the future.

In my role as Swimathon President, I have felt huge pride and admiration as thousands of you have taken to the water year after year to challenge yourself and raise vital funds for charity. We have long said that Swimathon belongs to the swimming community, it is for everyone to be a part of and to help drive everything that is good about this sport that we love.

So I am writing this open letter today to urge you to register for Swimathon or Open Water Swimathon. This is your chance to show our nation that we are ready to support our sport and that we will be back bigger and stronger than ever. 

If, like me, you’ve had little chance to get in the water in recent times then not to worry, there is a distance challenge to suit everyone (starting from 400m!) even if training sessions have needed to be shorter than usual. And not only will you be declaring your support but every swimmer who signs up to an organised session will also donate £2.50 to the venue where they are taking part. Not to mention the opportunity to raise desperately needed funds for our wonderful charity partners Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie. As ever, Swimathon is driving grass roots swimming in every possible way.

We know these continue to be tough times but in adversity can come hope and, in the same way that we are all inspired by our swimmers in Tokyo, now is the time to collectively show that we care about swimming at every level. We all love to see the gold medals but our sport is so much more than that.

So I urge you to register to the Swimathon Festival now, on 10-12 September we want to show the country that swimming matters and that we as a community will come back stronger than ever.

Thank you and stay safe.

Duncan Goodhew

Swimathon President

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