SWIMMING legend Duncan Goodhew MBE is calling on people across Solihull to take the plunge and sign up for Swimathon 2023.
The Swimathon President and former Olympian is making a splash to highlight the annual fundraiser which raises money for Cancer Research UK and the end of life charity Marie Curie.
He is urging people of all ages and abilities to enter the sponsored event taking place from 12-14 May at selected pools across the county, including Tudor Grange Leisure Centre in Blossomfield Road, Solihull.
With a variety of distances to choose from – from 400m up to 30.9k – Swimathon offers a challenge for swimmers young and old, new and experienced. People can participate individually or as part of a team.
Any swimmers who can’t make one of the organised sessions can sign up to MySwimathon, which takes place from 28 April – 21 May, and choose a time and venue that suits them.
With rising energy costs putting some community pools at risk of closure, it has been another challenging year for swimming.
Not only does the event support vital charities, £2.50 from the entry fee of everybody taking part at an official Swimathon venue is donated to help protect these pools for the future.
Goodhew, who won an Olympic Gold medal for the 100m breaststroke at the 1980 Moscow games, hopes to inspire people in Solihull to get off the starting blocks and help make a real difference to individuals, families and communities across the UK.
He said: “I swim as often as I can and will never stop championing this sport.
“The positive impact that it has both physically and mentally is undeniable, so I’m passionate about Swimathon because it helps to show that swimming is a fun, accessible, and exhilarating form of exercise.
“It is a truly inclusive event with so many ways to take part for every level of swimmer.”
Swimathon is the world’s largest annual swimming fundraiser. Since launching in 1986, more than 750,000 swimmers have taken part, raising over £55 million for charitable causes.
Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the West Midlands, Paula Young, said: “Swimathon is such a great way to encourage people to dip their toe in the water and get swimming. There’s no greater motivation for taking part than helping to support causes that are close to the hearts of so many.
“One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, but all of us can support the research that will beat it.”
Marie Curie’s director of community fundraising, Jayne Waterhouse, said: “Swimathon is an iconic event in the Marie Curie calendar and one we all look forward to every year.
“The exciting and inclusive challenge sees thousands of people take the plunge with sponsored swims up and down the country, whilst raising money to help Marie Curie support those affected by terminal illness.
Visit swimathon.org to sign up.