Tom Molnar | Sat, 3 Nov 2018
Aberdeen University Swimming & Water Polo Club recently held a 4-hour charity swimathon in order to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. It was the first time the club has held an event such as this, but something they’ve been looking to do for a while as fundraising was a part of the club they wanted to boost from the previous year. The swimathon was held on Saturday October 13th, and around 36 members of the club attended the event. Not only that but some members of the public as well as Aberdeen University Triathlon took part too, as the whole thing was advertised on Facebook and JustGiving.
Over the space of 4 hours, the swimathon was held in a relay format, with a different swimmer jumping in every 50 or 100 metres. In total, 67.4km was swum, with swimmers coming and going throughout, but also 20 dedicated swimmers participating for the whole charity event. There was also a water polo match held that same day so several members of the club who would’ve participated was absent due to representing the club competitively. The dedication towards the swimathon was surreal, as AUSWPC have 7 training sessions a week and don’t train on a Saturday, so those who swam took time out of their day off to raise awareness for such a serious cause. Money came in from donations by friends and family, with a total of £1691.50 raised for Brain Tumour Research. Not only this, there was a minimal £5 donation entry for the cause. This achievement is well above the target set out which was £1000, showing the club going above and beyond for the cause.
Brain Tumour Research is a charitable organization dedicated to finding a cure for brain tumours of all kinds, with four centres of research excellence across the UK. Brain tumours are very serious, and, staggeringly, up to 16,000 people a year are diagnosed within the UK. The President of AUSWPC felt there was a “sense of achievement” afterwards, seeing as it was not only a hard-grueling session but one for charity and everyone gave it their maximum effort. The Secretary emphasised that it was all for “a just cause, it feels rewarding”, as it should be, considering cancerous brain tumours have one of the highest mortality rates under the age of 40 in the UK.
It wasn’t just the dedication of the club that brought the charity event together, but the unity as well. The club thrives off of the closeness of the members, acting as a second family to some. Everybody in the club puts in the hours into the training sessions and, as said by the Secretary, “everyone has earned their respect”. AUSWPC is a club that trains almost every day, each session having a huge turnout seeing as the club has 115 paid members. Despite the daunting amount of training put in, the club gets a great deal of new members each year, as the President explained that last year “we had a lot of new members, but I would say, this year, even more so”. The increase in new members is due to the great success the club has had in competitions, most recently beating rivals Robert Gordon’s University 144-103 in a swimming event, as well as both water polo teams defeating the university too. AUSWPC takes it upon itself to get the best swimmers possible through time trials which is done by everyone and, as the President stated, “every year you have to retry to be on the team”.
This swimathon shows just how great it is to be a member of a sporting club at university. The unity it brings, as well as the great friendships formed, it all comes from doing fantastic events such as this. Brain Tumour Research is doing everything possible to find a cure for brain tumours, especially as it is affecting more and more people under the age of 40. The extraordinary amount of money raised by this dedicated club will be going towards finding this cure, and hopefully other clubs follow in their footsteps and more and more charity events will be held to raise awareness of serious cases like brain tumours.
In terms of the future, the President is interested in continuing their superb charitable efforts, with talks of doing a swim in the North Sea and, “more generally, every year we want to keep on with the swimathon”, whether it be for Brain Tumour Research or another charitable organisation. Nonetheless, the club is showing an aspect that most sporting clubs don’t necessarily take part in, but it is encouraged that clubs and societies do fundraising like the swimathon. However, the month of November marks the annual event of Movember, which involves growing moustaches in order to raise awareness for men’s health issues. This is a charitable month that sees all of Aberdeen University united, whether it be a sporting club or not. AUSWPC will also be participating in Movember, showing the club to be going beyond the limits in their charitable efforts.