The Henley Lions Club Swimarathon returned with a splash on Saturday (26 March). 14 teams, comprised of 75 swimmers from local schools and youth organisations, completed a total of 982 lengths of the Henley Leisure Centre pool, raising around £4,500 for charity.
After the event was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the Henley Lions Club Swimarathon attracted teams from Valley Road, St Mary’s, Gillotts and Nettlebed Schools, along with teams from the Brownies, Guides, and the Meteor Club (who have taken part every year since the swim began around 30 years ago). Henley’s Deputy Mayor, Michelle Thomas, started the swim by wishing all those taking part the very best of luck.
The Swimarathon asked the teams to complete as many lengths of the pool as possible in a 40 minute time slot, swimming in relay. The teams were made up of between four and eight people, with ages ranging from primary school children, through secondary school students, and right up to adults. Valley Road’s ‘Velocity’ (Year 6) team accomplished the highest total lengths in their 40 minute window, swimming an impressive 94 lengths of the pool. Regardless of lengths completed, each child was presented with a certificate for participating.
Before the event, the teams were asked to gain pledges from sponsors, which could either be a lump sum for taking part or an amount per length completed by the group. In total, for their 982 lengths of the pool, the 14 teams raised around £4,500. Every penny raised will go to charity, with 50% of the money going towards Henley Lions charity account, and the other 50% to the charities of each of the individual organisations’ choice.
Wendy Franklin was largely responsible for organising the event on behalf of the Henley Lions. She said, “It’s taken months to organise, and lots and lots of emails. It was all organised two years ago for March, and of course Covid hit and we had to cancel it about a week before. It was so sad. So being back today is just wonderful. I think it’s fantastic. Having a single team here is brilliant, but having 14 teams is even better. It’s great — but we always have room for more!”
Congratulations to the many brilliant swimmers who conquered the Henley Lions Club Swimarathon. The event will return next year, when hopefully there will be even more teams taking on the challenge!