Swimmers in Lichfield and Burntwood are being urged to get back in the water and support a charity event.

More than £50million has been raised through the Swimathon initiative since it began 35 years ago.

Olivia Bowdler

One of those who has previously taken part in the event is Lichfield-based Olivia Bowdler.

She swam to raise funds for Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK.

“I did my Swimathon for my late nan so it felt very personal and important to me.

“I would encourage anyone to get involved and do it – it’s for such a great cause and makes such a difference.”

Olivia Bowdler

The easing of coronavirus restrictions has allowed swimmers across the country to return to indoor pools.

Olivia admitted not being able to get into the water had taken a toll during lockdown.

“Getting back into the pool feels fantastic”

Olivia Bowdler

“It’s been really tough not being able to swim.

“What I’ve missed most is the gratification after a swim and how good it makes me feel after exercising.

“I have struggled with anxiety over the course of the lockdowns and swimming really helps me overcome it. Swimming makes me feel normal.

“Getting back into the pool feels fantastic – I feel once again free and can focus on myself.

“It’s inspired me to wanting to try out masters swimming as I have missed competitive swimming.

“It’s been difficult without it, but now I can just enjoy getting back into training.”

Olivia Bowdler

More than 750,000 people have taken part in a Swimathon event since 1986 and Anthony Kendall OBE, chair of the Swimathon Foundation, said he hoped more would jump at the chance to support the event now facilities have reopened.

“It’s great for the whole swimming community that pools are reopening and we can welcome people back to the water.

“Through our work with Swimathon Foundation, we have seen a huge number of people working hard to make this happen and to keep their pools and schools ready for this moment, and a large number of swimmers desperate to get back in the water.

“We can’t wait to see them get back on their Swimathon journey, and to help them raise funds once again this year.”

To find out more about Swimathon, visit www.swimathonfoundation.org.

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