Swimathon 2020 Raises £1 Million for Charities

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The Swimathon Foundation has today announced that this year’s Swimathon has raised over £1 million. These funds will support the essential work of Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie as well as promoting swimming and underpinning its vital role in health and wellbeing across the UK. Over 18,000 swimmers took on the Swimathon challenge to raise money for vital causes, collectively swimming over 19.5 million metres. Swimmers used the MySwimathon digital offering to swim in one session or across multiple days to accommodate the restrictions in place at swimming venues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Swimathon is the UK’s biggest annual recreational swimming event and over 750,000 people have taken part since its formation in 1986, raising over £54 million for charitable causes.

The Swimathon Foundation is a force for good in communities across the UK. Every year it encourages and promotes the benefits of swimming and provides opportunities to swim and to raise funds for charitable causes. This year it has distributed some £50,000 in grant funding to support groups within the swimming community in need as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Foundation’s Chair, Anthony Kendall OBE, said: “The Swimathon community has stuck together in the face of adversity this year and I’m so proud at how we’ve overcome the odds to put on another successful event. We made a quick pivot to a digital offering and launched the MySwimathon tracker to allow swimmers to take part in the challenge in a more flexible way, whilst raising crucial funds for charity.

“I want to say a heartfelt thank you to leisure operators who we worked closely with to ensure Swimathon could take place, and of course to the 18,000 swimmers who came with us on the journey and have made such huge contributions to vital causes. The role of the Swimathon Foundation has always been to support community swimmers, protect facilities and help charities, who have suffered, and I believe we have done that this year and hope we can continue to do so in the future.”

Before March’s lockdown forced pools to close, 14 million adults swam each year, equating to a third of the nation, and Swim England’s Value of Swimming research showed that aquatic activity saves the public purse £357 million per year, with swimmers happier and healthier as a result.

One of the 18,000 swimmers taking part was Felsted’s Julie Green. The Essex based teacher who raised over £5000 with her daughter, Emily, for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie said:

“I have always loved swimming and started going to the pool three times a week last September to get fitter. Cancer has affected my family so I decided to use Swimathon as a fitness goal, as well as a way to raise money for two very important charities.

“I was devastated when pools shut and that the money I’d started raising may not reach the charities, so when I found out I could complete my Swimathon independently, I was absolutely determined to do so. I had originally signed up to swim 5k but decided to challenge myself to swim the distance of the English Channel and I managed 33km over 4 weeks! It was great to get back into a pool after so long and swimming for me is my way to relax. Friends and family supported me very generously for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.”

The opportunities to fundraise through MySwimathon came at a crucial time, with charitable fundraising suffering and many charities having to shut down activities as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Emma Hyatt, head of events and sports at Cancer Research UK, said:

“It’s fantastic news that this year’s Swimathon has raised £1m and we’re so grateful to everyone who took part in the challenge.

Cancer Research UK, like many charities, has been hit hard by the pandemic. During these difficult times, support for our life-saving work has never been more vital and the money raised through Swimathon will help us continue to make progress for people affected by cancer, who have never needed us more.”

Mark Winton, Head of Community Fundraising at Marie Curie added: 

“We are so grateful for everyone who took the plunge into the pool and took part in a swimming challenge. We rely on the support of the amazing public to ensure our nurses can keep caring for people at the end of their lives. The coronavirus crisis has badly impacted our fundraising, so we are so grateful that Swimathon has helped us raise vital funds we need to keep supporting people in our communities across the UK.”

For more information about The Swimathon Foundation, visit www.SwimathonFoundation.org.