Swimming for a cause
Swimming for a cause03 May 2021
In January, some of our HKFC swimmers took part in the The 31 Day Swim Challenge, organized by Splash Foundation Co-Founders Simon Holliday and Libby Alexander. In order to raise funds and awareness of their foundation, they had the idea to swim (without a wetsuit) every day in January, to find 31 monthly donors.
Splash Foundation believes that everyone should have an opportunity to learn how to swim. While some people are lucky enough to learn as a child, there are millions of people who face financial or cultural barriers to learning this life skill. Since the foundation was established in 2015, Splash has taught nearly 3,000 children and adults how to swim . It cost just HK$2,000 to teach someone how to swim and be water safe for life.
The organisation had aimed to teach 5,000 people how to swim by 2020, however, with the recent COVID restrictions in place across all Hong Kong pools and beaches, this target had proven to be somewhat of a challenge for the SPLASH team.
The 31 Day Swim Challenge therefore, was an exciting project. News of the challenge rapidly spread and gathered the interest from many swimmers across Hong Hong, including some ex Olympic Swimmers and Top Hong Kong competitors, all wanting to join the challenge. On New Year's Day, Simon and Libby did their first swim from the jetty at Deep Water Bay with the water a frigid 15 degrees and air temperature in single figures. The challenge brought them all over Hong Kong, swimming at least one Kilometer a day and sometimes five, and they were joined daily with excited and intrigued guest swimmers.
On Day 27, a delegation from HKFC joined them, assembled by Deb Hanley and led on the day by Alex Fong (Olympic Swimmer). The group swam from Temple Beach, the far side of Repulse Bay, around Middle Island and back - a distance of around 3.5 kilometres. Given the time of year, conditions were challenging, with relatively high winds and cold temperatures. But every member of the team made it back safe and happy.
Over the 31 days, Libby and Simon covered a distance of 100km. But most importantly, and thanks to the generosity of the Hong Kong swimming community, including HKFC members Coach Dominic Tsui, Arthur Li, Alex Fong, Deb Hanley, Judy Blaine Marcus, Patrick Ip, Nicolas Gotard, & Matthieu Maury they managed to find 61 monthly donors, and several one-time donors to support the Splash Foundation.
Before the pandemic, Hong Kong Football Club were able to run learn-to-swim programmes for the employees of members during off-peak times. Once the club is back to normal operating hours, we hope to be able to restart programmes of a similar nature. In the meantime, Libby and Simon’s intention is that The 31 Day Swim Challenge will be an annual event. Through the organisation, they will continue to strive to create a community where people can build their confidence, improve their health and well-being, and flourish both in and out of the water. For more information about their foundation, including how to contribute as a donor, please visit http://www.splashfoundation.org/en/