Swim England

A nation swimming

Swimathon Foundation praised as grant helps deal with ‘catastrophic’ situation

Aquatics organisations have praised the Swimathon Foundation for financially supporting them after being faced with a ‘catastrophic’ situation due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Dozens of Swim England affiliated clubs and swim schools have received grants totalling almost £30,000 from the Swimathon Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund.

For some, it’s ensured they will be able to stage swimming lessons once again when pools are given the green light to reopen.

Andy Wilde, from the Telford-based Duck n Dive Swim School, said the fund had been a big help.

The swim school has been providing swimming lessons for baby, pre-school and school aged children for the last 10 years.

Andy said: “Financially the fund is so helpful as Covid-19 has hit everyone hard. 

“It can be a bit demoralising thinking about how we are going to go back and build up once again from a very different landscape. 

“I was a bit resistant to look for funding initially because when this all happened in March, I was the same as most people and thought maybe we’d be back in the pool after Easter and was a bit naïve ploughing on and not overthinking things. 

“As the situation progressed, we realised it was pretty catastrophic and we had to look at a few options. 

“This fund is definitely going to help because we will have to show due diligence for baby lessons. We will have to set up hand sanitiser stations and will help us get back up and running. 

“It put a bit of a spring back in our step to think that we aren’t alone and someone else has your back.” 

So grateful

Gloucestershire-based Cirencester Swimming Club also benefited from the initiative.

The not-for-profit swimming club, which is run by parent volunteers and has a membership of more than 120 from the age of four upwards.

Cirencester run a successful ‘Learn to Swim’ programme and its swimmers compete at County, Regional and National level. 

Chairperson Ali Norrish said: “Our Virtual Crossfit programme has been a crucial way for our swimmers not only to stay fit, but also to be able to keep in contact with their swim family, who they would normally see at least four times a week in their pool environment. 

“We are so grateful to Swimathon for their grant to assist us with this programme in these uncertain times.” 

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson praised the Swimathon Foundation for distributing a total of £29,765 between 61 Swim England-affiliated organisations.

She said: “We’re well aware that many clubs and swim schools have been facing financial difficulties during this time.

“It’s pleasing to hear that the Swimathon Foundation grants have been so valuable and made such a huge difference.

“Our thanks go to the Swimathon Foundation for helping so many of our affiliated organisations.”

Swimathon has raised more than £50 million for good causes since it was formed in 1997 – and more than 750,000 people have taken part.

This year’s event was due to take place at more than 600 pools between 27-29 March but was postponed until 16-18 October due to the coronavirus outbreak.