Rotary Swimarathon 2015: Grantham teams splash for cash!

SKDC's Paul Stokes and Susie McMahon with Strictly star Brendan Cole and Rotarians Mos Kalbassi and Roger Graves.
SKDC's Paul Stokes and Susie McMahon with Strictly star Brendan Cole and Rotarians Mos Kalbassi and Roger Graves.
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While swimmers were racing along for the Rotary Swimarathon on Friday, who should pop up but Stricly’s Brendan Cole!

The dancing star popped poolside during a break in rehearsals for his Meres show ‘A Night to Remember,’ bringing a boost to those taking part in the 26th annual fund-raising event, the biggest in the town’s calendar.

Mos Kalbassi and Neville Thompson take a dip. Photo: Mike Gaffney

Mos Kalbassi and Neville Thompson take a dip. Photo: Mike Gaffney

Once again, the Rotary Club of Grantham has hailed it a resounding success. More than £28,200 was pledged by 1,400 swimmers, who made up 241 teams and between them swam 33,213 lengths – the equivalent of 515 miles! Once Gift Aid is claimed, Swimarathon 2015 is expected to have raised £32,000.

Swimarathon chairman Neville Thompson said: “The weekend has been another huge success and I would like to thank all the swimmers for their tremendous support.

“I would also like to thank all our corporate sponsors whose generosity once again has covered the entire cost of staging the event so that all the swimmers’ sponsorship money goes to the charities.”

Money will be divided and donated to various charities and good causes, all local to the Grantham area.

Every year the Swimarathon brings the commnity of Grantham together. Swimmers of all ages and abilities, from businesses to schools to clubs to entire families, get involved.

Starting on Friday it quickly gathered pace when 15 teams from Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School took to the water at 5.30pm. Further schools took part throughout the weekend, with Sir William Robertson Academy, King’s School, Priory Ruskin Academy, Walton Girls’ High School, Isaac Newton Primary School, National Junior School, Barrowby Primary School and Grantham College all taking eight lanes each.

Sunday saw newcomers Belvoir Triathlon Club enter two teams. Racing against each other they showed some real power swimming, supported by their new mascot, whose name was chosen on the day as Barry.

The team to swim the most lengths was Grantham Water Polo A with 260.

Rotary Club of Grantham president Mos Kalbassi said: “The Swimarathon last weekend was the most exciting and rewarding event I have ever experienced.

“240 teams totalling 1,400 people, young and old, joined forces and swam for charity and for our community. How wonderful to see so many swimmers, sponsors and Rotarians team up to raise money for a multitude of deserving local causes whilst having so much fun.

“The atmosphere was filled with joy and fellowship, which was most enjoyable and inspiring. I thank all the participants and congratulate them for this magnificent Swimarathon achievement.”

As is customary when Swimarathon draws to a close, Mos, as president, was pushed into the pool by Neville. But members of the organising committee then decided that Neville should join him and promptly gave him a shove.

Next year’s Swimarathon is already booked for February 5-7. Priority is given to teams which took part this year – new teams can register from March 1 at www.rotaryswimarathon.org

* Teams are asked to collect all their money in by the end of March so that grants can be awarded towards the end of June. Any local charity or deserving cause within the Grantham area can apply on the website if they wished to be considered for a grant from this year’s event.

* The Rotary Club of Grantham will again hold a Rotary Global Swimarathon, which will take place around the world over the weekend of February 21-22. Local members of Rotary will be swimming for an hour on February 21.