A team of swimmers from Harborough Swimming Club, who called themselves the Hydromasters, swam an amazing 179 lengths of the Leisure centre pool in a 50-minute relay. This is 3.58 lengths per minute.

In total 39 teams swam 4,029 lengths, that is about 100 km, at Market Harborough Leisure Centre for the Market Harborough Rotary Club’s SwiMarathon 2016. This is now one of the biggest fun swimming events in the area.

Their efforts have raised over £5,000 in promised sponsorship. The swimmers’ money will all go to local good causes. There is also more than £2,500 generously given by business sponsors.

Rotarian Gordon Etherington, chair of the group of Rotarians organising the SwiMarathon, said “We are delighted to have raised so much money this year from the sponsorship. It will all benefit local causes. It is lovely to see so many people of all ages swimming together, and having so much fun.” In the event, each team gets one lane to swim in a relay for 50 minutes. There is a maximum of 6 swimmers per team. Rotarians count the number of lengths for each team and display the number so swimmers and spectators can see how many lengths are being achieved.

One local primary school has been a big supporter of the event. Market Harborough Church of England Primary School entered 10 teams this year; teams of pupils, former pupils, teachers and parents. Hazel Stephens, an organiser at the school said “The children love it, and so do I. We have swum every year with old and new swimmers. We have also applied for grants previously and received awards for the school library, the Peace Garden and other things. It is good to be able to tell the parents that that the school benefits from the SwiMarathon, as well as having fun actually swimming.”

The Harborough Netball league managed to “fill the pool”. That is they had 6 teams all swimming at the same time, so using all 6 lanes of the pool. This set up a healthy rivalry. A spokesperson said “Our teams all did brilliantly. It was great. I would like to thank all our swimmers and helpers for taking part, and thank the Rotary Club for organising it all. We would like to thank the Rotarians for a fantastically organised event yet again. All our swimmers were buzzing tonight.”

After their swim, each swimmer gets a certificate with a photo of their team, endorsed by Rotary, and all the business sponsors, and thanking them for swimming. This is presented by the President of the Rotary Club, this year Les Dodd. He said “Everybody enjoyed the event and many want to come back next year and bring more friends. They really liked the certificates. I enjoyed seeing so many happy swimmers.”

Many of the swim teams were those who had swum in previous SwiMarathons, which shows how enjoyable it is. Newcomers in 2016 included teams from Harborough Parkrun, Meadowdale primary school and the residents of Welland Place. President Les said “We are pleased that so many swim teams come back again, but it would be even better to get more new teams next year. Any age, any ability, any number up to 6 in each team.

Harborough FM radio was at the poolside providing good music for the swimmers and crowds, together with live commentary on the numbers of lengths each team was swimming.

Rotarians of the Market Harborough Club, assisted by members of Inner Wheel, ran the event.

Awards for the teams who swam most lengths had the best team name, and raised most money will be given out at a special event on June 13th. Also, at that event the local grants from the money raised will be given out.

The Rotary Club is very grateful to the business sponsors:

Andrew Granger & Co, Angel Hotel, Brooke House College, Duncan Murray Wines, ET Peirson, e.surv Chartered Surveyors, Harborough FM Radio, Harborough Leisure Centre, Harborough Mail, Jet Pumps UK Ltd, Lewingtons Heating Engineers, Mayday Independent Financial Services Ltd, Mistry’s Pharmacy, Parr Automotive, PJD – design and print, Quinns Bookshop, J Stamp & Sons – Funerals Directors, Stephen Sanderson Transport Ltd, The Old Bank, Rothwell – restaurant, Tim Thornton Jewellers, Walker Forestry Conservation, Wartnaby – Hefford Solicitors

For more information see website www.rotarymarketharborough.org.uk or the Rotary Harborough swimarathon facebook page.