Swimmers make a big splash for charity

Taking a breather are L-R Millie Colbear, nine, of Bessacarr, and Eilish Wilson, 13, of Armthorpe.  Picture: Liz Mockler D1914LM

Taking a breather are L-R Millie Colbear, nine, of Bessacarr, and Eilish Wilson, 13, of Armthorpe. Picture: Liz Mockler D1914LM

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FORGET slipping on a wetsuit and diving into the Thames, a sports club has taken the plunge indoors to complete an epic 1.4 million metres challenge.

Armthorpe Swimming Club members as young as six-years-old have been diving in for a huge fundraising event to swim the same distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats - a whopping 870 miles.

Swimmers of Armthorpe Kingfishers Swimming Club take part in a swimathon for Sport Relief.  Picture: Liz Mockler D1908LM

Swimmers of Armthorpe Kingfishers Swimming Club take part in a swimathon for Sport Relief. Picture: Liz Mockler D1908LM

The 100-strong group has taken it in turns to complete at least 18.5 miles each, roughly the same distance from Doncaster to Sheffield, at Armthorpe Leisure Centre.

And coach David Holmes’ inspiration came from an unlikely swimming hero.

“Everyone has been really excited about this event. Last year David Walliams inspired us by swimming the Thames and raising over £1 million for Sport Relief. We’re prepared to go the extra mile as a swimming club for a great cause,” said the South Yorkshire Master’s Championships 2011 gold medallist.

The club has completed a million metres so far and is well on the way to smashing its fundraising target of £2,000 as more money continues to roll in.

Club chairman Peter Hardy, who has also promised to take part in the task, said that by Monday the group had travelled the equivalent of reaching Perth in Scotland having covered over 600 miles. The aim is to crawl through the finishing line by Saturday during training at the Mere Lane sports centre.

He said: “Everyone at the club has got involved, there were some very tired children at the weekend but it’s been a fantastic effort so far and even the leisure centre staff have taken part.

“We’re really chuffed with how everybody has got involved

“I’m not sure anything like this has been done before, it’s been a fantastic experience for everybody.”

To sponsor the group known as the Kingfishers visit http://my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/armthorpeasc Alternatively log on to www.armthorpeswimming.co.uk.

The Sport Relief challenge aims to provide facilities and clean water for underprivileged people living in Sierra Leone.