Local Worthing swimmer overcomes lockdown to take on Swimathon challenge

Laura Jane from Worthing is taking on a mammoth Swimathon Challenge this month to raise money for Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK. The original 2020 Swimathon was postponed from March and has become a virtual event with swimmers all across the country taking part at a time and venue of their choice up until the end of October.

Swimathon is the UK’s biggest annual recreational swimming event and its owner the Swimathon Foundation is a remarkable ‘force for good’ in communities all across the UK. Over 750,000 people have taken part since its formation in 1986 and have raised over £50 million for a number of charities.

Laura Jane explains how her Swimathon journey this year has been a rollercoaster of emotions with stop-start training to get to this point:

“The year started strongly, and I was able to train at The Pavilions In The Park, Horsham, three to four times a week; in-between studying for my level two swimming teacher qualification.” Laura Jane said.

“I was following a training plan that was specifically designed for my personal challenge, the triple 5km swim but twice! I took part in my first Swimathon event last year and swam the triple 5km so I decided to ‘up the ante’ and push myself further this year. Unfortunately, it all came to a halt when the swimming community was devastated by the news that leisure centres and pools would close.”

Regrettably, this meant Laura Jane was unable to continue her training with a fear of the sea ruling her out of open water swimming. But the feeling of getting back into the pool was something that she’ll never forget.

“I was deeply concerned that I’d forgotten how to swim, questioning whether I was physically fit enough after months of eating copious amounts of cake and chocolate. But from the moment I got into the water I felt free, alive and for the first time in 4 or 5 months I was able to switch off and completely immerse myself. It reminded me why I fell in love with the water two years ago. The absolute joy it brings, the feeling of empowerment and achievement.”

Laura Jane taught herself how to swim in 2018 after finding herself stuck in a monotonous daily routine. In 2019, Swimathon was the very first event she had signed up for and she will be taking on the triple 5k challenge twice this year to raise money for Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK. Laura Jane’s favourite part of Swimathon is meeting likeminded swimmers. Entries are open for Swimathon 2020, to enter go to www.swimathon.org

“Everyone has their own story and I love sharing, supporting and encouraging others to achieve. I was given the opportunity to meet some of the most remarkable people, their stories absolutely blew me away, anything is possible and this affirmed it. Swimming is for everyone and everyone who swims is an absolute hero.”

For more information about the Swimathon Foundation, visit www.swimathonfoundation.org