Nearly 200 people took part in the fifth annual SwiMarathon event earlier this month and raised £7,000 for Harborough community groups.
A total of 36 teams and 195 swimmers, completed an impressive 3,672 lengths at Harborough Leisure Centre on the weekend of March 7-8 for the Market Harborough Rotary Club event.
It is now one of the biggest fun swimming events in the area and swimmers averaged 18.8 lengths each.
Their sponsored efforts raised more than £4,750 which together with £2,500 generously given by town business sponsors will lead to £7,000 being raised. The money will all go to deserving causes based in the Harborough district with groups being given the opportunity to apply for grants later this year.
Chris Etherington, chairman of the group of Rotarians who organised the event, said “We are delighted to have raised so much money from the sponsorship. It will all benefit local causes. It is lovely to see so many people of all ages swimming together, and having so much fun.”
Market Harborough C of E Primary School is a big supporter of the event and entered 11 teams of pupils, ex-pupils, teachers and parents this year. Hazel Stephens, from the school, said “The children love it, and so do I.
“We have swum every year. We have also applied for grants previously and received awards for the school library, our Peace Garden and other things. It is good to be able to tell parents that the school benefits from the SwiMarathon, as well as having fun swimming.”
Christine Giles’ swim school entered six teams, as they did last year. She runs swimming sessions for families from her own small pool and said: “Our teams all did brilliantly.
“It was great. I would like to thank all our swimmers and helpers for taking part.
“We would like thank the Rotarians for a fantastically organised event yet again. All my swimmers were buzzing.”
After their swim, each participant got a certificate with a photo of their team – endorsed by the Rotary Club and business sponsors – presented by the club’s president Rennie Quinn, who swam in the team of Rotarians.
He said: “Everybody enjoyed the event and many want to come back next year, and bring more friends.
“We are pleased that so many swim teams come back again, but it would be even better to get more new teams next year.”
Newcomers this year included groups from Foxton’s netball club, and a team from the Market Harborough Disabled Swimming Club.
The SwiMarathon is not an endurance event. Each team of up to six people got one lane to swim in a relay for 50 minutes.
Rotarians counted the number of lengths for each team and displayed the number so swimmers and spectators could see how many lengths were being completed.
Members of the Market Harborough Inner Wheel club, the town’s Welland Valley Rotary Club and the recently-formed Robert Smyth Interact Club also helped out during the weekend.
Awards for the teams who swam most lengths, had the best team name and raised the most money will be given out at a presentation evening on June 8. Grants will also be given out on the night.
To the learn more about the Rotary Club of Market Harborough visit its website at www.rotarymarketharborough.org.uk.
Sponsors of the 2015 event:
Andrew Granger & Co estate agents, The Angel Hotel, Brooke House College, ET Peirson & Sons accountants; E.surv chartered surveyors; The Foxton Locks Inn; Harborough FM; Harborough Leisure Centre; the Harborough Mail; Harboro Rubber Co; Jet Pumps UK; Lewingtons Heating Engineers; Mayday independent financial services; MDH teamwear and trophies; Mistry’s pharmacy; Quinns Bookshop; Stephen Sanderson Transport; TJ Thornton jewellers; Walker Forestry Conservation and Wartnaby-Hefford solicitors.
Story by Alex Blackwell.