Swimmers of all abilities, everywhere, are being urged to take the plunge and help raise money to eradicate polio. The Rotary Global Swimarathon (RGS), devised by the Rotary Club of Grantham, District 1070*, has set the challenge to everyone to "grab their goggles."
On the 25th of February 2012 participants from all six continents of the world will be represented, including Great Britain and Ireland, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Philippines, USA and New Zealand.
All will dive in with the aim of supporting End Polio Now and setting a new Guinness World Record. To achieve this, each participating swimmer needs to complete 100 metres between 1200 and 1300 GMT. The challenge is to record as many swimmers as possible, all swimming simultaneously, wherever they are in the world, in that one hour.
The event has also attracted high profile supporters including two global event ambassadors. Penny Palfrey, Australian ultra-mararathon open water swimming world record holder, and six-time Paralympic medallist and five-time World Champion Fran Williamson, who will be attending the Grantham event. Additionally, current member of Team GB 2012 Paralympic swimming squad, Claire Cashmore will be swimming at the RGS in Knaresborough and the ladies of the Team GB Olympic water polo team have even pledged to take part whilst in training in Australia.
Event chair Roger Graves, Rotary Club of Grantham, says the idea has really taken off: "We have been running a local swimarathon for years here in Grantham and have raised thousands of pounds for good causes. We decided to see if we could go global and target efforts towards supporting End Polio Now, Rotary's drive to eradicate the disease."
Since first floating the idea on the internet, via Facebook and other social media sites, the event has rapidly gone worldwide. Paul Wilson, RGS social media co-ordinator added "The support from across the world is just amazing. To have the backing of swimming legends like Penny, Fran and Claire is fantastic. The 25th of February is going to be an amazing day and I would urge anyone who is interested in taking part to contact their local Rotary club which will be delighted to help. I am sure we are going to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds and have a great time in the process."
Interested parties can find their nearest event and need to register on the official website,www.rotaryglobalswimarathon.org
Rotary District 1070 in the East Midlands of England is just about as diverse a region as can be found anywhere in the United Kingdom. From the shifting coastline of Lincolnshire in the east, across the fens and flat agricultural plains of Anglia and Lincolnshire almost to the edge of the Peaks of Derbyshire in the west, the District includes a number of England's most significant commercial or industrial cities such as Leicester, Loughborough, Peterborough, and Northampton. On the other hand, there is a range of quiet, historical and touristic towns such as Stamford with its Georgian buildings and annual horse trials at Burghley, and Oakham, on the edge of England's largest man-made lake, Rutland Water.