Video about the event

Friday, 24 February 2012

Global Swimarathon day is here!

5 hours to go. 16 months ago, Global Swimarathon was just a far fetched dream. Today it is an inspiring reality.
Our 116th entry in a new country Mexico - 24th country represented, by Rotary Club of Erandi Zamora - lets take a look at that magical map - one more time .....

World Map of Global Swimarathon participants

Here's a very special moment - here are a group of kids who just swam at Rotary Club of Kurunda , D9550 Queensland Australia. Although they were unable to take part in the world record hour, they can all proudly say that they actually took part in the first official Global Swimarathon event any where in the world ever!!

So many amazing moments all happening at once.

But for me, right now, I would simply like to share with you what I believe may very well become THE iconic image of this incredible Global Event.

Please let me introduce you to Rajendra Anvekar and Moin Junedi who will be joining over 250 other registered swimmers (so far) at Rotary Club of Belgaum event in D3170 India.


Best wishes and a world of thanks to everyone who will take part and support us today.


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Happy Rotary Day - 2 days to go!

2 days to go. 16 months ago, when our swimarathon chair Roger Graves first dreamed up this incredible event, this was the target date for the event Rotary Day in 2012 (then we realised it fell on a Thursday -not the best for multiple swimmers). As a very proud Rotary Global History Fellowship Board member for Zone 17 in the UK, and an ordinary club member, in fact just as a citizen of the world I'm very proud to celebrate our 107th anniversary today. The #rotaryendpolio message is spreading far and wide, from the fantastic BBC coverage to the iconic landmarks lighting up the sky.

It's brilliant to see so many Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors, working hard on the social network forums to get our message out there.

Let me tell all of you who will be with us on Saturday that there is now no doubt that what we we will achieve together around the world will most definitely spread that message far and wide, it will most certainly become part of Rotary history, and we will rightfully claim our own unique piece of sporting history in the process. Seems particularly appropriate on this historic Rotary day to say a huge thankyou to fellow RGHF Executive and Board members, Nevine Abdelkhalek in Egypt, Prakash Sarasawat in India, Sajid Baseer Shaikh in Pakistan, Susanne Rea in Australia,  and Tim Tucker in the UK, lead magnificently by RGHF CEO Jack Selway in the USA , who have made a very significant contribution to spreading this event in their Districts as well as in many cases directly taking part and running events. Very very proud to be a member - would recommend it to anyone -

What's most extraordinary to me as we come into the final hours of preparation is just how every out there seems to be stepping up to a whole new level to bring their events together. Take our very latest prospective entry from the Rotary Club of Vancouver Washington , USA. They found out about Global Swimarathon very late in the day, got in touch and I explained that we need at least 25 swimmers for each event to be counted in the record and that in that part of the world its a 4am swim. You know what, even with only 3 swimmers confirmed and less than 40 hours to go - they are going for it anyway -The pool is booked for 4am , 3 of them will swim and be sponsored for the full hour if necessary, but they are going all out to get 25 even at that unearthly hour.

Great news stories coming in from every corner of the globe. In Egypt , Nevine confirmed tonight that they have 170 swimmers already confirmed - not only that - listed every single one out on the facebook group - just brilliant !! So that's 6.5% of the numbers we need in just 1 entry and its not even Friday here in the UK yet!

Spotted from over in Kenya, a full promotion for our event on Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation the number one news media channel in the country - take a look at this. Very well done to David Hastie and all the team at Rotary Nairobi.

Over in Cairns, Queensland , Australia, Susanne Rea has discovered a Zumba World Record has just been set there - so naturally she's marketing the Cairns Global Swimarathon event to the max as a chance to break 2 World Records in a week - pure genius.

Open Water Irish Swimming star Nuala Moore has got in touch today to say although she can't organize a group event, she will head out in to the 7 degree Irish sea and swim a solo kilometre for End Polio Now - now that is pure commitment!!

Over in the Isle of Man, President Peter Whiteway of the Rotary Club of Ramsey has been on Manx Radio telling them all about the event.

Current Paralympic Team GB star Claire Cashmore, in the midst of heavy training for Paralympic trials in April, has messaged everyone on twitter that even though she's doing a full 2 hour heart racing training session on the morning, she'll be at Knaresborough and will take part.

The final word for our fantastic , inspirational , magnificent UK ambassador Fran Williamson  from an interview she gave today and published on her blog

Her partner and managing agent Chris Whitaker will be joining us over the weekend, and will be our special guest social media monitor in the build up to and during the magical hour. 

We will be geared up to tweet and retweet, facebook post and share , receive email updates and through the dedicated phone line receive texts and calls , we're even setting up some skype sessions.

We'll try and collate an unofficial round the world figure on how many swimmers have taken part as soon as we can on the day, and we want to see those videos and pictures as soon as you can get them to us to share.

#RotaryDay is coming to a close, but we all know that for us the biggest pool party in the world yet to come - 

HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

3 days to go- plenty of ways to keep in touch!

3 days to go. Great to see another sign up today from the Rotary Club of East London in D9320 South Africa, becoming the 6th district around the world with 5 or more participant clubs - so wonderful to see such great partnerships at District level.

I had the most wonderful day, over at our local ASDA superstores helping out with a collection and prize draw / tombola with fellow Rotarians and members of the British Polio Fellowship. Extraordinary warmth and generosity from the people of our town , meant that my arms were well and truly aching with the weight of gold coins after 4 hours working there. So another terrific boost to our local End Polio Now collection targets, and wonderful to stand along Polio survivors and meet the wonderful Jane Louth in person who had spent a full year gathering donations for the tombola prizes.

Just a couple of quick updates with communications plans for the day

In case you haven't seen in the email I sent out to those taking part over the weekend. We have set up a phone line (+44) 7583018832  to which anyone in the UK or even overeseas who haven't got social media / email access on the day can text or ring us with updates.

We have also set up a skype account  - user name rotaryglobalswim  -using our email address - and have made provisional arrangements to try and link up with Mareeba and Townsville Rotary events in Queensland on the day - feel free to get in touch to see if we can skype to your club events

On the day itself, Chris Whitaker, partner of Fran Williamson our UK Paralympic ambassador who will be both be joining us in Grantham, has kindly agreed to step into my Rotary Global Swimarathon twitter and facebook shoes and monitor our account , to keep everyone informed as details come in from round the world,

We heard yesterday that Rikki Lim from the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City Phillipines is planning to set up a live streaming link from their event - we will happily share that with you all, and please let us know if you are planning anything similar

All in all its getting very exciting now!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

4 days to go!

4 days to go! Still the entries are coming in - brilliant to welcome the Rotary Club of Tuzla 99 in Bosnia , partnering with the Rotaract club there, and great to confirm that Rotary Club of Sarnia , D6330 Canada will be represented thanks to the efforts of PDG Tania Wolff. So as of tonight 110 official entries on the website!!

As world Rotary Day is getting nearer, so the media coverage of Rotary and the work that we do just gets better and better. 

Delighted to share with you this 5 minute feature from this morning's BBC Breakfast news on Rotarian volunteers in India taking part in Polio immunization of children  including an interview with RIBI President Ray Burman 

I'm sure many of you out there are taking part in week long celebrations of Rotary Day - tommorow I'll be taking a break from Twittering and Facebooking and helping out at a collection for End Polio Now in our local Asda superstores. As we're still looking for swimmers for Saturday, depending on weather conditions I am planning to don my googles and swimming trunks (and Rotary Tabbard of course) for the cause!!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Brilliant coverage on BBC of Rotarians immunizing children in India from Polio

5 days to go. Woke up this morning to new registrations from India and Pakistan, and a further registration from an Interact club in Canada took us up to 108 officially entered clubs in India.

So still extremely busy on the sign ups front even with just a few days to go.

Tell you where else has been busy today - The BBC news rooms. We have had incredible coverage across the BBC Today Radio 4 show, Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2, BBC main news at 1pm and 6pm. Chief BBC medical correspondent Fergus Walsh @bbcferguswalsh on twitter if you want to take a look has made several reports from Delhi, and has been alongside some 500 Rotarians from Britain and Ireland who are taking part in the ongoing immunization of an incredible 170 million children this year in India alone.

Makes me all the more determined to help everyone taking part around the world raise as much money as possible - however many hours it takes, whatever the commitment - I'll give everything I've got to support you all the way. Please watch this inspiring clip and read the article.

Tommorow am, RIBI President Ray Burman will be featured live on BBC breakfast news - watch this space!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

It's Rotary Week- Tell your community, tell the world!!

6 days to go. Great to get another registration from our home district 1070 as we head into the home straight!. Entry number 102 from the Provisional Rotary Club of Kettering. Also had confirmation today that both the Rotaract club of Tuzla 99 and Rotary Club of Tuzla 99 will be the first entries from a 23rd country Bosnia Herzegovina.

This morning I sent out another email to all the confirmed participants and please look out for daily email updates and reminders as we get ever closer to the big day.

As you will all be frantically preparing the final event details, in this very last week, there is a huge opportunity all of the participating clubs to really build the excitement and entry numbers in your local areas. Its been wonderful to read about so many clubs who have got local press coverage, radio coverage and in some cases TV and celebrity attention. This being Rotary week with the anniversary on Thursday, its a wonderful time to showcase our event and everything that we do.

For those of you on twitter, RIBI here in the UK are running a very prominent twitter campaign, using key hashtags #rotaryday #rotaryendpolio - We will be tweeting all week up till Thursday adding those tags to our existing #rotaryglobalswim. Just tonight, Sarah Bosomworth from Rotary club of Knaresborough had a message of support and response from ex GB olympic swimmer / tv presenter Sharon Davies, there are many dozens of UK, Australian, US and other international swimmers out there on twitter - when they hear of an event like this, something that's never been done by anyone in the history of the sport there is bound to be interest.

Clearly the same applies to all the media campaigners, the people with very high followings. Don't expect them to instantly reply to all tweets, but keep trying - you never know where it will lead.

Here's some great examples of using social media - our friends and brilliant supporters down under Howard Tong and Dick Garner have a fantastic blog with 10s of 1000s of followers and they have all the local events showcased here

If you are inspired by the swimarathon videos we've produced -why not record your own promotional video for your event and share it on local facebook pages - here's a brilliant example from the Rotary Club of Perth Ontario Rotary Club of perth promo video - this was also broadcast on local radio

Clearly local press coverage will always help here's another one from Rotary Club of Cebu City

To make sure you've got enough swimmers on the day, well worth getting down to the pool where you are staging the event and talking with local swimming clubs and school groups having lessons - you could get 30-50 participants signed up in 1 go!

Let's make this a magical event we will always remember!!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

101 clubs and two big THANKYOUS!

7 days to go. We've finally done it. Our 100th official club entry was submitted this morning from the Rotary Club of Watertown Noon , New York , USA thanks to Lance Evans. After a year long , day-in-day out campaign can't tell you how good it feels to be able to write this.

Then entry number 101 thanks to Sei Parvez of the Rotary Club of Lahore Garrison , Pakistan- wonderful!

Perfect timing with a week to go for our event chair Roger Graves and myself Paul Wilson to stand before you all around the world and say the biggest THANKYOU possible!!

Rotary Global Swimarathon - A message from Roger and Paul

Friday, 17 February 2012

Please share your event posters and pictures on our website!

8 Days to go. As we edge ever closer to the big day, I want to highlight some more ways that we can all share what's happening at our local events.

For example over the last few weeks we've seen some absolutely fantastic event posters being produced from clubs around the world. You may not have realised, but our website allows you to upload and share your event photos and images.

Simply log on to the website, go to User Menu (bottom left on the front page) and click on Create Gallery Categories. Here you can select a title for your own area - e.g. Pictures from Rotary Club of Grantham event. Then simply select files e.g. *.jpg  and upload them . They will then be displayed under Event Picture Galleries

If you take a look via this link here you'll see I've created an area called Event Posters from around the world and have included one example from Egypt, one from India, and Barbara Held's magnificent guide to open water swimming in the ocean darkness of San Diego USA!

We will of course share as many of the pictures and images that we receive / are shared with us, but we really do want you all to make use of this capability in any way you want - create your own areas - create your own record of the event.

On a practical level it will also help us greatly in collating all the evidence for the World Record Paperwork so can you please all take a look at using this over the next few days in preparation for the event pictures etc.

Can I make a suggestion?

How about everyone uploads a picture of their venues - whether that be pool, Lake or even the Ocean Blue - would be great to see them all together.

Can't wait to see the results!


Thursday, 16 February 2012

99 Clubs officially entered - WE ARE THIS CLOSE!

9 days to go. Wonderful to get two new entries today taking us so close to the magic 100.

Thanks to Colonel Sajid Baseer Shaikh, we now have the oldest club in Pakistan taking part, the Rotary Club of Lahore - wonderful. Entry number 99 was from a triathlon club near Limerick Ireland- they have a pool and a beautiful lake ready to be used and are going to get in touch with their local Rotary Club.

It's school holiday week at the moment here, and on a short trip out to an indoor play centre in the nearby market town of Sleaford, I couldn't help but smile as we drove through the town centre and saw a huge 4 metre wide barrier above the road proclaiming "Rotary Swimarathon - 24th-25th February". One of 16 clubs in our home District 1070 taking part, Sleaford had already got their own local swimarathon booked before the Rotary Global Swimarathon plans were announced, but have built in the world record attempt into their event - fantastic!

As we wait for the 100th entry to come in, news today of a new Rotaract club in Bosnia Herzegovina wanting to join in, which would take us to 22 countries! Also had confirmation that one of our local RAF airforce bases are definitely going to be joining us with their own event.

Tommorow, Rotarian Barry Phillips from our club and his wife Inner Wheel President Veronica are flying out to Kenya for their holidays. They will be hosted during their visit by local Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Nairobi, and as we've mentioned before on this blog, they will actually be able to take part at a Global Swimarathon event in Nairobi on 25th February. This is one amazing event!!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

10 days to go!

10 days to go. Earlier today, was absolutely fantastic to get a brand new country taking part. Thanks to President Luis Jarava, The Rotary Club of MurciaNorte , Spain not only became official club number 98 to sign up, but the 21st country to be represented. Great also to see the event publicised in Spanish on their front page . We were even given the precise location of the swimming pool for the event on googlemaps so here it is Latest Global Map

I have to say, these little joyous moments when the global community really does seem a lot more like a village are what makes it all so rewarding.

Here's a snapshot of just a few of the little highlights from today.

Rotary Club of Matamata ,New Zealand are one of 4 clubs there all swimming at 0100-0200 in the morning - Don Stanley sent me the details tonight - they are aiming to raise an amazing £8000 and have 500 swimmers taking part - truly inspiring!
Marion Long of the Rotary Club of Alnwick, sent me a pic of their 2 metre by 1 metre global Swimarathon banner proudly adorning the local Leisure centre. She tells me she's been on Alnwick Community Radio, has sent press releases to local and national BBCTV stations - that's the spirit

Robert Ogle from Pigeon Forge Rotary, USA said this about our event

"As our first exposure to the event, we are excited to use this year as a springboard to grow the event for future years. Our club has a wellness committee, and this event is exactly what we’ve been looking for."

Lawrence Tris Tristam of Petersfield Rotary Club was interviewed on Radio about the event today at Kestrel FM

Alexandrina Robu of Chisinau Rotaract club in Moldova tells me on FB chat that the Vice Ambassador of Germany will be swimming with them

And over on twitter, we are now being followed by RotaryPRtips - the official PR group for Rotary International.

We sent out a Guinness World Record Attempt certificate and an update email tonight to all the participants - look out for more in the coming days as we get nearer to the event - can't wait for tommorows news!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The world and his wife are taking part!!

11 days to go. Last night was a special partners night at my wife's monthly Inner wheel meeting. Our local Inner wheel club is a joint one between members of the Grantham Kesteven evening club - our daughter club, and our own club the Rotary Club of Grantham, which means we have great connections between the 3 clubs.

 Wonderful fellowship, a reasonably priced 3 course meal and retired auctioneer Bob Brownlow as guest speaker from our club - soon to be temporarily "unretired" for a Global Swimarathon Paralympic and Olympic auction:)

During the evening our Global swimarathon chair Roger informed me that we received our 96th registration from the Rotary Club of Shepshed Charnwood in our own District - thanks to Fred Thompson

Valentine's day, February the 14th. A time to reach out to the person you love and say......."would you mind registering your Inner Wheel club for the event!!" We've said all along, we want every part of the Rotary Family represented in Global Swimarathon and with Earlyact, Interact, Rotaract, and Rotary clubs already in there, seems only right to include the Inner Wheel club - who also support us brilliantly and always put in a team for our local swimarathon, in the list of entries.

So there we have it - club number 97 Inner Wheel Club of Grantham- official registered by - my wife Alison!!

Monday, 13 February 2012


12 days to go. As per my previous blog entries, having spent a couple of days away am now rapidly catching up with some remarkable new developments. Over the weekend we leapt from 89 official entries to 95, with 2 new countries represented - Croatia and China taking us to 20 countries in the list.

A warm welcome to #90 the Rotary Club of Sisak Croatia, #91 CampbelltownRotary New South Wales, Australia #92 Rotary Club of Belgaum, D3170 India, #93 The Rotary Club of Wagner South Dakota USA, #94 Rotary Club of Nottingham D1220 England (Rotary Club of Grantham's Parent club!!) and #95 the Rotaract Club of Shanghai China.

Many thanks to our ever dynamic event chair Roger Graves who kept me up to date as I dived in and out of temporary internet connectivity!

I've just managed to update the map , and adding in at least 5 clubs that haven't registered but have stated they are taking part -for the first time we are now able to show 100 participants on the world map

 100 CLUBS in Rotary Global Swimarathon !!!

To give everyone time to catch up on registrations, we have decided to extend sign-ups for the event by 1 more full week -who knows what the final tally will be , but one thing is for sure..

To every single one of you out there who have given up so much of your time and worked tirelessly to get your clubs involved  - THIS IS FOR YOU - THANKYOU!!!

Friday, 10 February 2012

15 days to go!

15 days to go. Went down to the local newsagents and gleefully picked up this week's copy of our local paper the Grantham Journal. Fabulous to see 6 pages of coverage on our swimarathon event, even including a bonus article on my swimarathon marathon over the weekend - 3 weeks (1 as a cartoon) being featured in a row - it's all too exciting :)

Apologies in advance that I won't be able to do much updating over the weekend, as we're heading for a family weekend break, but I fully expect the registrations to keep coming in, and I will try to keep track via my smart phone.  Robert Hartness from Barnard Castle Durham, England got in touch yesterday with news of their swimarathon event that hadn't yet been registered and is set to raise an amazing £5000, and I know that Ellen Yu of Rotaract China and Suzanne Mekhitan in Sydney are definitely about to register so who knows we could even reach the magic 100 by early next week

Please keep those media contacts / enquiries going - April Dequito from Rotary Talisay in Cebu City Phillipines sent us a fantastic note that they'd been featured on a local TV station, and just at lunch time the Rotary Club of Knaresborough's event was promoted on their local Radio station.

In fact let's make it a challenge - please report back on our facebook group site or on our wall with details of any publicity you have attracted - we'll share the best ones with the world!!



Thursday, 9 February 2012

Media campaign!

16 days to go. Brilliant to get another two entries today in quick succession. Entry number 88 came in from the Rotary Club of Cairns Mulgrave , making it a magnificent 9 entries for District 9550 , Queensland, Australia. Then entry number 89 from the St Catherine's earlyact club in D9270 South Africa.

As announced on the Facebook group page earlier, now firmly on the look out for wider media coverage. The advantage of twitter is that there are no shortage of active journalists , sports bloggers and writers out there. Locally to us, we have great support from our local paper the Grantham Journal and that has carried on with twitter connections. In Comoros's paper, there will be a huge spread of pages devoted to local swimarathon which we will share with you when they are digitally available. My media campaigning got off to a great start in the pool with them last Friday afternoon as the 1st of 7 swim teams I swam with - and this afternoon I got a call from one of the journalists following up on my £2012 in 2012 marathon swimarathon efforts and an extra feature should be in there - every bit helps!

Also had some great retweets from the @britishswimming official twitter account , and a good number of fellow Rotarians and sporting contacts. Mark Shardlow of  East Midlands Today Sports our local BBC regional broadcaster has emailed back to us with definite interest in covering the event, and we have a contact within Sky Sports news. Plenty more to come on that over the next few weeks.

Remember, when you are talking about your event please use #rotaryglobalswim so that we can share and highlight. Don't forget to bookmark and keep a record of any local news or media coverage you receive and make an extra copy so that can be included with your official world record submission.

Hoping to announce that 90th official entry very soon- watch this space!!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

90 clubs taking part - 100 sign ups here we come!

17 days to go. Always wonderful when you get a new country confirmed and represented. After contact some months ago from Rotary Club of FrancisTown Botswana, absolutely delighted to see them register as club 86 today - making it 18 countries now. Then another entry received from the USA, number 87 from the Rotary Club of Wilmington Delaware.

With the two clubs in China, plus Suzanne Mekhitan expecting to confirm the Rotary Club of Campbelltown Sydney, Australia later tonight / tommorow am UK time, we are most definitely looking at at least 90 clubs now with still over 2 weeks to go.

Here's that all important map Worldwide clubs confirmed for Global Swimarathon

Next stop 100 clubs and let's set the target - 10,000 people and £100,000 for End Polio Now !!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Magic moments from Grantham Swimarathon 2012!

18 days to go. Received an email this morning from China confirming that both the Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of Shanghai would be taking part on the 25th, just wonderful news! Many thanks to Terry Watts for registering the Rotary Club of Blaby in our home District 1070, England as the 85th club confirmed.

The rest of this blog needs very few words from me - other than to proudly say This is what Swimarathon is all about. Enjoy!!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Making Basil proud -a tribute to the founder of Rotary Grantham Swimarathon

19 days to go. Our Marathon Swimarathon weekend is now over, and at today's club meeting there was a very special atmosphere. The 6 members of the Rotary Rollers swimming team, including 3 members in their 60s and 70s who had each swum in all but 1 of the 23 years of swimarathon were awarded their event t-shirts and team photos.

Event chair Roger Graves stood up and read out a very special note.

It was written by the daughters of the late Rotarian Basil Blackham, who passed away in July 2011 aged 86. Basil was a member of the Rotary Club for 40 years, President 1982-1983 and was the man who first introduced Swimarathon to our town 23 years ago, having seen the event idea at a club in Somerset.

They wrote of how proud he would be , looking down from the heavens, seeing swimarathon going from strength to strength. For the large part of 22 years Basil ran the event, and he never missed a single swimarathon.

As a prospective new member visiting the club in December 2010, I will always treasure the way Basil, one of the elder-statesmen of the club, made his way over to me and gave me the warmest possible of welcomes. As I'd been told that the dress code regulations were a little more relaxed, I'd left my tie off for this first meeting. In the most gentle way possible, Basil suggested that wearing a tie was something I might consider for the next meeting as a mark of tradition, and from that day onwards out of total respect for him, I always wear a suit and tie. When I was inducted into the club, I'll never forget him coming over and handing me his much treasured book about the history of Rotary of written by a long serving secretary of RIBI. That spirit of recognising the need to look to the future but always understanding where we've come from, inspired me to become a member of the Rotary Global History Fellowship. He truly was a remarkable gentleman in every sense, and Roger's tribute reminded us all of the importance of honouring his memory.

As you'll see from this moving Tribute to Rotarian Basil Blackham Basil was also a much travelled Rotarian visiting clubs in an amazing 45 countries during his years as a member.

I'm sure he would be as proud as anyone could possibly be of how our incredible Rotary family have helped us to share the event with every corner of our globe. We have just under 3 weeks to go now to Global Swimarathon - we've come so far now - let's make this the greatest coming together of Rotary clubs in the history of our organisation. Each and everyone of us taking part has the power to make it happen , and together we will.


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Incredible weekend at Grantham Swimarathon - next stop the WORLD!

20 days to go

  Forgive me, for turning attention away from the Global Swimarathon for a moment, but one of the main drivers for RGS is to try and create a legacy of annual swimarathon events in communities around the world and we really want to share the Grantham Swimarathon experience as widely as we can.

From Friday morning at 8.30am right through to Sunday at 6pm, myself, Roger Graves and at some stage or other every single member of the Rotary Club of Grantham, along with members of our Grantham Kesteven daughter evening club and Inner Wheel and numerous other supporters have been enjoying our 23rd and  best ever local Swimarathon event!

Here are just a few of the amazing statistics from this years event –

  •  A record £37,100 from pledged sponsorship forms over the weekend (up £1,000 from the same time last year)  - With further sponsorship and just giving funds / text donations still to be counted we are set to raise close to £50,000 , all of which is shared between more than 40 local charities.
  • More than 35,000 lengths swum – including a brand new record set by Kings Water Polo team of 5 who between them amassed an incredible 281 lengths of our 25 metre pool in just 55 minutes!!
  • A record number of teams taking part – 238 in all ,and over 1400 swimmers.
  • All of this over a weekend hit with snow and icy conditions, a true testimony to the amazing support and commitment to the event

As I wrote in previous blog entries, we were very honoured to be joined by RIBI President 2011/12 Ray Burman for the opening hours,.  He has really been a huge help in the promotion of Global Swimarathon and and how proud we were to showcase an event that is truly at the heart of our community.

On Saturday we were overjoyed to have the company of our Global Swimarathon UK ambassador Fran Williamson and her manager and partner Chris Whitaker. She brought a couple of her medals along with her, a Gold world championship and a silver paralympic medal from Beijing which we were all in complete awe of , and we had a wonderful time soaking up the atmosphere together.

She did also make sure that I got back on with my marathon swimarathon challenge !! IF you haven’t seen the details please take a look at - would really appreciate your support - up to £452 raised so far!!

 As I said on day 1 Friday in between supporting the event team,  I swam in 2 1 hour sessions including the very first at 1.30pm in the company of Grantham Journal and then at 5.30pm with the Gravity FM teams,  which brought me to 52 lengths by close of play Friday. With Fran’s encouraging words echoing in my ears, I stepped up on Saturday afternoon, swimming with a lovely bloke Andrew who’d swam in 22 out of 23 swimarathons and who’s friends were unable to join him and and Anne who just floated gently on her back  and managed another 27 lengths. The following hour there was a spare lane, so I filled in a few minutes late and managed another 60 lengths.
I joined up with our very own Rotary rollers team , who considering we had an an average age well in the 60s put in some sterling work and I finished the day on 168 – still 31 short of my 201.2 target. The drive home was a little treacherous a sudden snowfall had turned it into a snowmarathon , but made it safely back.
Sunday morning a shift on computer admin, processing all the sponsor forms and photos for every team taking part – every single entrant this year got a special t-shirt, and once again our sponsors did us proud with over £8,000 paying for all the costs of running the event including the pool booking fee, allowing us to give every single penny raised direct to the charities.
An honour to get back in the pool at 2.30pm with President Elect and Swimarathon and Global Swimarathon website master Irvin Metcalf.  Especially brilliant that after all these years, our inspirational chair Roger Graves took the plunge, even in a middle lane away from the safety of the wall and joined us. He actually managed 20 lengths – a very impressive haul for someone who has literally never swum more than 100 metres before – so he’s one name down on the sign up list for Global Swimarathon!! Was great to be with them as I finally made it in hour number 6 past the 201.2 mark ,and racked up 211 laps.
All weekend long we had a tremendous response to our announcements on the upcoming Global Swimarathon and with schools and clubs to confirm, we are looking well on track to make our own 500 entrants target.
Back to my own target,  back in the pool for the last hour of the weekend 16:30.  Doesn’t get better than being able to swim it with the Grantham Lynx Disability swimming club – who were actually founded by Rotary Club of Grantham in 1953 and who have supported us brilliantly ever since the first event when members of the UK Paralympic squad swam non stop in relay for 24 hours.
Very emotional to have my little 6 year old boy was there to swim length 212 with me, and he went on to manage an impressive 6 lengths all on his own,  with his Daddy trailing behind him at times! – Then we powered through the last half an hour – helped by a fabulous team we made it to 153 lengths as a team , my highest total of the weekend, and for me personally , just amazing to get to 250 lengths.  Nearly 4 miles – definitely in need of  a rest now!!
Come tomorrow morning I’ll be raring to go though – news of a Croatian club entry to confirm on the website and plenty of other encouraging messages over the weekend – so much to look back on, but for now its full steam ahead!!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Local Swimarathon goes global!

21 days (3 weeks) to go. The opening day of our 3 day Grantham Swimarathon, and we were honoured to have RIBI President Ray Burman visiting us - who duly posted this on Facebook along with some great pics!

Grantham Swimarathon 2012
By Ray Burman RIBI President 2011/12
9 photos
I am currently with the Grantham Rotary Club and their amazing Swimarathon. There is over 1000 registrations so far and £502,000 sponsorship already. Club President Peter and the club members will be here all weekend and will easily have a new record of money raised. Dont miss the Global Swimarathon...Sat 25th Feb
My marathon swimarathon weekend challenge got off to a great start, swimming in the opening 1 hour session with the good folks of the local Grantham Journal newspaper and I managed a second hour later on with Gravity FM team. All day long the schools and the swimming clubs were amazing, with all the supporters they bring in. So glad that Ray was here with us, and really looking forward to our UK ambassador Fran Williamson coming along tommorow with Chris Whitaker her manager/ partner and official global swimarathon communications man on the big day to see what its all about.
Best news of all came late in the day when Rotary International published this fantastic article putting Global Swimarathon on the main news pages of Rotary around the world! 
Not only that our 84th sign up came in from Rotaract Team Baia Mare in Romania, thanks again to Adrian Dan Pop who's done a wonderful job in promoting the event there.
It's 7.15am and I need to be back and swimming for another 4 hours today - all sponsors most welcome  - President Burman very kindly added his name to the list yesterday!!

Grantham Swimarathon weekend is here!

22 days to go. An other amazing day for sign ups yesterday, with a further 3 coming in after I wrote yesterday's blog. Thanks to Alistair Miller at our most northerly entry in East Sutherland, Scotland, we now have 2 local Interact clubs registered for the event - so brilliant to get the kids involved , and I would actively encourage all of you with Interact and Rotaract clubs in your area to get in touch with them and ask them to join with your event.
Then entry number 83, thanks to Manish Deshpande of the Rotary Club of Kagal MIDC taking us to 4 entries in District 3170  and an 8th entry overall in India - fantastic.

As per the blog title, we're all very excited here at the Rotary Club of Grantham, as our annual 3 day swimarathon starts today. As I've posted about previously as well as working all through the weekend (along with every other member of our club, members of Grantham Kesteven evening club and our Inner wheel club) I've also got my own swimarathon marathon challenge to fit in as well,  and thanks so much for everyone out there who have helped me raise  £400 in sponsorship received already - so it's going to be fantastic!

Very proud to say this year,  our event will be opened by our RIBI 2011/12 President Ray Burman and during the weekend our UK Global Swimarathon ambassador Fran Williamson will be joining us as special guest to see what the event is all about. We'll make sure we share all the videos and news from the weekend as soon as we can , but as you'll appreciate, updates may be a bit limited over the next couple of days with so much going on.

Loads of activity to report in terms of new interest in joining the event - only this morning received an email from Canary Islands, Spain where Marcus Cabrera who takes part in Masters Swimming events in Spain has said they would like to take part - magic!

More brilliant news this morning from Mareeba Rotary in D9550 Australia , one of the amazing 8 clubs entered in that District. Thanks to great work from Ida Portella and the team, they've managed to get legendary multi-world championship winning triathlete Brad Beven as their special guest - - As you'll see he's got an incredible record of achievements, but for me the statement that stands out on there has to be

"Brad Beven trained in swamps with Crocs, but you don't have to."


Thursday, 2 February 2012

We've hit the 80 club milestone!

23 days to go. Brilliant to have 4 brand new official sign ups to report, and just to underline how staggeringly global this event really is all 4 are from 4 separate continents of the world!!

First we had the Rotary Club of Kurunda in District 9550 taking the D9550 total to an astounding 8 clubs taking part. Then in the space of literally half an hour, we had the Rotary Club of Beacon Bay in D9320 South Africa (5 clubs in D9320) , the Rotary Club of Bijap(3rd in D3170) India and then the Rotaract Club of Chisinau, Moldova - a 17th country entered!

You know what....

Last night I went to see probably my favourite band in the whole world Snow Patrol, over at the Nottingham Arena. The place was absolutely packed out, the atmosphere incredible, some 10,000 people gathered together under the same roof.

And then I thought....

25thFebruary2012 - we are on target to get over 12,000 people taking part at the same time. More than this whole stadium full of people , stretching as far as the eye could see...

Even though there are 11,300 miles separating the most northerly (East Sutherland, Scotland) from the most southernly club (Karori NZ), even though there are people taking part at 14 different hours of the day - we are all standing there together - in that same virtual stadium - united in our commitment to End Polio Now

Takes your breath away.....

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

We've finally arrived in Swimarathon Month!

24 days to go. Woke up this morning to discover an email from the multimedia news editor of Rotary International asking for a photograph from previous Swimarathons as they will be writing a feature over at as part of the build up to the Rotary anniversary day celebrations!

Simply Wonderful!!

Following on from yesterday's blog feature on the number of swimmers expected to take part and the fundraising targets, inspired by a post from my good friend Susanne Rea I want to highlight again the opportunity for all of you now taking part in Global Swimarathon to get other clubs in your district involved - either to supply extra swimmers / fundraising support, or even to stage separate events.

Susanne laid down the challenge out there to other Districts around the world to see which District will have the most representatives outside of the UK.

So in that spirit of "competition" - here's a current "league table" showing which Districts have the most registered clubs taking part

1. District 1070 England 12 Entries
 (Rotary Grantham's home district) As you might expect (given we're swimming at a very reasonable time of day and we've had a lot of local publicity ) - we're still leading the way with 12.
2. District 9950 Australia 7 Entries
Well Susanne - just one PHENOMENAL effort - swimming between 21:30 and 23:00 to have 7 clubs represented is just astounding - hats off to you all!!
3. District 3272 Pakistan / Afghanistan - 4 Entries
Just remarkable to have such a strong representation across the age groups of clubs in a region where Polio is still endemic
4. Joint 4th - District 9940 New Zealand - 3 clubs
1AM in the morning - say no more!!
Joint 4th - District 9320 South Africa - 3 clubs
Believe their may be even more in the region so hope they will sign up too!
Joint 4th District 7040 - Canada / USA - 3 clubs
Joint 4th District 2450 - Egypt - 3 clubs
Wonderful to have 3 clubs in Cairo joining us
5. Joint 5th - 2 clubs in D3170 India, 1010 UK, 5340 USA, 2980 India, 2241 Romania, 1110 UK, and 1280 UK

Here's the full list of clubs f

So there you have it - still time to get your club more entries - REMEMBER PLEASE REGISTER EVERY CLUB taking part in joint events - ONLY 1 ENTRY NEEDED FOR WORLD RECORD, but EVERY INDIVIDUAL CLUB needs to be in THE EVENT LIST

Together we can achieve that magical 100 clubs figure -