Swim For Level Water

24th May, 2023

There are some relationships that make sense. One of them being between The Outdoor Swimming Society and Level Water.

Seven years ago in 2015, Level Water became the charity partner for the Bantham Swoosh, Hurly Burly and the Dart10k. Level Water, set up in 2012, was set up to fill a much-needed space in British swimming: increasing the number of children with disabilities having access to swimming lessons. By taking charity places at the events, swimmers could raise money for future generations of swimmers. The charity model is to subsidise swim lessons for those with disabilities for as long as it takes for the children to be ready to enter mainstream lessons (generally a year). Between 2015 and 2019 the amount raised from these events alone exceeded £500,000. ‘One swimming lesson costs us £15,’ says the CEO Ian Thwaites. ‘We estimate that these events have helped fund over 30,000 lessons. These events and the support of the swim community has allowed us to give opportunities to thousands of children all over the country.’

‘Swimming is like nothing else,’ says OSS Director Kate Rew. ‘The skills you develop, the confidence you build and the joy you feel are all universal. Yet access to swimming in the UK is not. OSS and Level Water believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn to swim and fall in love with the water.’

In 2022, Level Water took on the baton of the Dart10k, Bantham Swoosh, Bantham Boomerang and Hurly Burly through their events arm, Swim Collective, and now run all the events. ‘With support from The Outdoor Swimming Society and swimmers everywhere, we are able to give the gift of swimming to more children with disabilities across the UK,’ says community manager Mark Fox. ‘The Mini-Swoosh is probably the best example of the power of swimming making a huge difference to people’s lives.  The big Swoosh is an epic 6km swim, with 800 swimmers. For many swimmers it’s the biggest challenge they will ever take on, some coming from all over the world to be part of it. But on the same day, in the same river, at the same time, the Mini-Swoosh takes place. This is for 8 to15-year-olds to swim the last ‘Swoosh’ part of the swim. The crystal-clear waters and super-fast current makes it an exhilarating experience for all ages. In 2022, some of the children from Level Water lessons took part for the very first time. It was also the first time many of them have been able to swim outdoors. Something they never would’ve dreamed of doing if it wasn’t for Level Water lessons, and without the Outdoor Swimming Society taking them on as a charity partner all those years ago.’

Want to help raise money? Head over to www.levelwater.org/swim-events to see what tickets are available in the 2023 programme. ‘With the exciting news that the Dart10k is back on the calendar this year,’ says Fox, ‘we’d like to invite you all to come and be part of it. Be part of a truly glorious event and raise money for Level Water. Because swimmers raising money for swimming lessons is such a wonderful thing.’