Pools packed for charity swim
SWIMMING: Suffolk's pools have been packed with fundraisers over recent days, as the region continues to play its part in this year's Swimathon. Thousands of amateur and competitive swimmers have been taking the plunge for the event - known as the world's biggest Swimming Marathon.
By Debbie Watson
SUFFOLK'S pools have been packed with fundraisers over recent days, as the region continues to play its part in this year's Swimathon.
Thousands of amateur and competitive swimmers have been taking the plunge for the event - known as the world's biggest Swimming Marathon.
Officially, the Swimathon took place at around 500 pools between Monday, March 18 and Sunday, March 24. But this ever-popular charity bid is still far from over.
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Another succession of charity challengers will still be diving in to pools until this coming Sunday, under the scheme's Simply Swimmers rule.
This initiative means that all those who haven't been able to get to an organised Swimathon session at their local pool, can still take part in any leisure centre or private pool of their choice.
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Chris Seymour, spokesman for the event, said initial indications are that the marathon has been incredibly popular this time.
"More than 32,000 swimmers took part in Swimathon 2002, with the figure set to increase as 'Simply Swimmers' take the plunge right up until the end of March."
He added: The final figure for the amount of money raised will not be known until June, but things are boding well, with this year's pledge figure up on 2001."
Staff at Deben Swimming Pool have already collated their initial results for the event, and duty manager Kim Helliwell claims this year has been a great success.
"The Swimathon has been very popular again this year, with lots of people taking part.
"We're really pleased to have been involved again, and it looks like a lot of money will have been raised by the various swimmers."
Deben Pool's fastest time for the half swimathon (2,500m) was achieved by Louise Hewson in a time of 48 minutes and 32 seconds.
The best time for the full swimathon (5,000m) was achieved by Neal Watson in 1 hour, 14 minutes and 13 seconds.