About the Swimathon Foundation

What does the Swimathon Foundation do?

The Swimathon Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and registered Charity and is the owner and custodian of the annual national Swimathon, Open Water Swimathon, School Swimathon and Marathon Swims events. Through the staging of these events, the Foundation encourages and allows members of the public – in their tens of thousands each year - to take part in swimming and to raise funds for charity. The main annual Swimathon started in 1986 and has grown to become the world’s largest pool based fund-raising swim, bringing together swimmers of all ages and abilities and spreading the joys and benefits of swimming whilst raising vital funds for some of the UK’s most deserving charities.

The Swimathon Foundation and its Charity Partners – currently Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK – work together to promote their charitable activities through the promotion and participation in Swimathon events and in doing so raise funds from members of the public in support of those activities.  Since its inception Swimathon has helped raise more than £50 million for a variety of nominated charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, NSPCC, The British Heart Foundation, The Prince’s Trust, Comic Relief, Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK. 

The Swimathon Foundation supports and encourages swimming through its own Community Grants Scheme, operated in conjunction with Swim England, through which the Foundation awards grants to local organisations whose projects help to promote swimming in local communities. The grants awarded provide much needed financial support for community swimming programmes across the UK. 

In May 2020, the Swimathon Foundation launched a fund - the Swimathon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund - to support small swimming and aquatic organisations that have suffered or are facing a material financial impact due to the coronavirus pandemic and which may not have access to financial support.

Governed by a Board of Trustees with a passion for swimming and backgrounds in community initiatives and recreation programmes, the Foundation aims to make a real difference in encouraging and providing opportunities to swim and to bring to as many members of the public as it can the enjoyment and benefits to health and wellbeing of swimming and at the same time to support other national and local charities. 

 “As Trustees, we are immensely grateful for the support we receive from swimmers, often over many years. It is your support that drives us to not only provide an excellent swimming experience but also make sure we use the valuable funds you raise wisely and effectively.” 

Anthony Kendall, OBE Chairman of Trustees

Swimathon Community Grants Scheme

The Foundation works in partnership with Swim England to provide funding for community swimming programmes – bringing much needed support to swimming programmes across the UK. 

 “We are incredibly excited to offer this Community Grants Scheme which will encourage hundreds of local community groups and clubs to think of new ways to promote swimming as a fun and healthy activity for all. We hope to persuade many more people to take up and enjoy swimming in the future, as well as challenge existing swimmers to further their involvement in swimming programmes.” Ralph Riley, Trustee 

Learn more about the Swimathon Community Grants Scheme.

The Important Legal Bit

The Swimathon Foundation owns Swimathon, Open Water Swimathon, School Swimathon and Marathon Swims events. The Swimathon Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity (registered number 1123870). The Foundation, through its wholly owned trading company Swimathon (Trading) Limited, has delegated the organisation, operation, management and promotion of these events to its appointed delivery partners, Limelight Sports Ltd and Participation Sport Ltd.

The Charities associated with Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon contribute to the costs of these events through the payment of a rights fee and this fee, together with event entry fees and a cost contribution from the Swimathon Foundation, meets the cost of running Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon. The charitable funds raised are held and distributed separately in agreed proportions to the major benefitting charity (or charities) and to the Swimathon Foundation. Any funds received by the Swimathon Foundation are held for the purposes of sustaining the Swimathon event and running the Foundation’s own grants scheme. 

 The Charities benefitting from an association with Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon are invited to bid for selection through a competitive selection process and the choice of Charity or Charities is at the discretion of the Swimathon Foundation Trustees. The current Charity beneficiaries are Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie who will be the official charity partners of Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon until 2021.