Swimathon Foundation Unites Key Events for Swimathon Festival 2021


Enter Open Water Swimathon now.

Swimathon Foundation has today announced the launch of the Swimathon Festival 2021, set to take place between the 10th and 12th September of this year. The Festival will see Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon events taking place on the same weekend for the first time, in a major celebration of swimming across the country.

The Swimathon Festival will see swimmers take to the water for a distance challenge of their choosing, whilst raising vital funds for Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie and the Foundation.

Swimathon is the UK’s biggest annual recreational swimming event and over 750,000 people have taken part since its formation in 1986, with a staggering £54 million having been raised to date for charitable causes. Open Water Swimathon was born in 2017, taking the Swimathon concept out into the increasingly popular open water for the first time. In 2019, over 1,500 participants took part, raising more than £80,000 for charity.

Last year’s Swimathon campaign raised in excess of £1 million to support the essential work of Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie, as well as underpinning the Foundation’s vital role in promoting and supporting swimming and the benefits that it brings to health and wellbeing of people across the UK. Over 18,000 swimmers took on the Swimathon challenge to raise money for vital causes, collectively swimming an incredible 19.5 million metres. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, swimmers used the MySwimathon digital offering to swim in one session or across multiple days to accommodate the restrictions in place at swimming venues.

The Foundation’s Chair, Anthony Kendall OBE, said: “The Swimathon community stuck together in the face of adversity last year and I’m so proud at how we overcame the odds to raise so much for charity. We can’t wait for our community to celebrate the return to the water with us this year, and the decision to align Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon brings our communities even closer to continue building our fabulous event.

“Last year was hard for pools across the country, and the individuals who do such good work in so many small communities. Charities, though, have also been hit really hard by this unprecedented period, and the chance to get back in the water and raise money for good causes is something we are proud to help support. This year’s event feels more important than any we have run before, and bringing our two biggest events together means we stand more chance of raising much-needed funds for our charity partners Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.”

Gareth Mulcahy, Head of Events and Sports at Cancer Research UK, said:

“Almost every way we fundraise for our vital research has been impacted by the pandemic but our determination to beat cancer hasn’t faltered. We are more focussed than ever on our ambition of seeing 3 in 4 people survive their cancer by 2034 but we need support, and now more than ever. That’s why we hope as many people as possible will dive in and sign up for the Swimathon Festival, so we can continue funding life-saving research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”

Mark Winton, Head of Community Fundraising at Marie Curie said: 

“We’re so excited that pools have re-opened and people can once again take the plunge and make a splash while helping raise vital donations for Marie Curie. At Marie Curie, we rely on the support of the amazing public to ensure our nurses can keep caring for people at the end of their lives and that grieving people in the UK can get the care and support they need. Every penny raised helps us make a difference to the end of life care people in the UK receive.”

Enter Open Water Swimathon now.



Marie Curie




Swimathon Foundation


Swim England


Scottish Swimming


Swim Wales


Outdoor Swimmer


Beyond Swim


Just Giving