Despite having to rearrange the Rotary SwiMarathon because snow forced it to be cancelled on its original date, enough swimmers and supporters were able to be there to make it a great fun event.
In total 38 teams comprising over 200 swimmers, swam 3,875 lengths of Harborough Leisure Centre pool, which is about 96km. This is now one of the biggest fun swimming events in the area.
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Their efforts have raised over £4,500. The swimmers’ money will all go back to good causes and charities.
The annual event had been arranged for March 3 rd and 4 th but snow affected the leisure Centre and forced its postponement until April 14 and 15. This meant some teams were unable to swim on the new date, and so less sponsorship was raised than in previous years.
One team of swimmers from Welland Valley Triathlon club, who called themselves the WVTri, swam an amazing 165 lengths in their 50 minute relay slot. This is 35 lengths per minute and impressed all those who were there to see it.
Rotarian Gordon Etherington, chair of the group of Rotarians organising the SwiMarathon, said: “We are delighted to have raised so much money this year 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.”
In the event each team gets one lane to swim in a relay for 50 minutes. There is a maximum of six swimmers per team.
Rotarian volunteers count the number of lengths for each team and display the number so swimmers and spectators can see how many lengths are being achieved.
Some local groups bring several teams and compete against each other.
The netball teams came along after their Saturday afternoon matches.
Three local primary schools entered teams: the MH Church of England Primary School (Fairfield Road) entered eight teams of pupils, former pupils, teachers and parents. Meadowdale school entered three teams and Little Bowden school entered three teams.
Hazel Stephens, organiser at the MH Church of England Primary School said: “The children love it, and so do I. We have swum every year with old and new swimmers. We have also applied for grants from money raised previously and received awards for the school library, the peace garden and other things.
“It is good to be able to tell the parents that the school benefits from the SwiMarathon, as well as having fun actually swimming.”
One netballer said: “Our teams all did brilliantly. It was great. I would like to thank all our swimmers and helpers for taking part, and thank the Rotary Club for organising it all. It was very well organised. We would like thank the Rotarians for a fantastically organised event yet again. All our swimmers were buzzing tonight.”
Another swimmer said: “It was even better than I expected. Team mates swam last year and said it was good, so I joined in this year. They were right. The friendly atmosphere, lots of people swimming together, the great music and the excellent organisation makes it fun for everyone.”
After their swim each swimmer gets a certificate with a photo of their team, endorsed by Rotary, and all the business sponsors, and thanking them for swimming. This is presented by the President of the Rotary Club, this year Doug Woollard. He said: “Everybody enjoyed the event and many want to come back next year, and bring more friends.
“They really liked the certificates. I enjoyed seeing so many happy swimmers.”
Many of the swim teams were those who had swum in previous SwiMarathons. Newcomers in 2018 included teams from The Battery Store and Corby Triathlon Juniors.
Rotary President Doug said: “We are pleased that so many swim teams come back again, but it would be even better to get more new teams next year. Any age, any ability, any number up to six in each team. Come and join us in 2019.”
The SwiMarathon is not an endurance event. It is a fun relay swim with friends.
Harborough FM radio were at the poolside providing good music for the swimmers and crowds, together with live commentary on the numbers of lengths each team was swimming.
Rotarians of the Market Harborough Club, assisted by members of Rotaract and Friends of MH Rotary Club, ran the event.
The Rotary Club is very grateful to the business sponsors: Andrew Granger & Co, Angel Hotel, The Battery Store, Brooke House College, Duncan Murray Wines, Dunleavy’s Hair ET Peirson, e.surv Chartered Surveyors, Harborough Leisure Centre, Harborough Mail, Jet Pumps UK Ltd, Lavender Blue, Lewingtons Heating Engineers, Market Harborough Building Society, Mayday Finance, Mistry’s Pharmacy, Parr Automotive, PJD - design and print, Stephen Sanderson Transport Ltd, Tim Thornton Jewellers, Town and Country Veterinary practice, Walker Forestry Conservation, Wartnaby - Hefford Solicitors, Wilkinson - Goldsmiths.
Awards for the teams who swam most lengths, had the best team name, and raised most money will be given out at a special event on May 14. Also at that event the local grants from the money raised will be given out. The application period for grants has now closed.
For more information see www.rotarymarketharborough.org.uk/swimarathon or the Rotary Harborough SwiMarathon facebook page.