About The Swimathon Foundation

What does The Swimathon Foundation do?

The Swimathon Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and registered charity and is the owner and custodian of the annual national Swimathon, Open Water Swimathon and School Swimathon events. Through the staging of these events, the Foundation encourages and allows members of the public – in their tens of thousands each year - to take part in swimming and to raise funds for charity. The main annual Swimathon started in 1986 and has grown to become the world’s largest pool based fund-raising swim, bringing together swimmers of all ages and abilities and spreading the joys and benefits of swimming whilst raising vital funds for some of the UK’s most deserving charities.

The Swimathon Foundation works with its Charity Partners – Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK until 2021 - to promote their charitable activities in association with Swimathon events and to raise funds from members of the public - including those participating in Swimathon - in support of their activities.  Since its inception Swimathon has helped raise more than £50 million for a variety of nominated charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, NSPCC, The British Heart Foundation, The Prince’s Trust, Comic Relief, Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK.

The Foundation supports and encourages swimming through its own Community Grants Scheme, operated in conjunction with Swim England, through which the Foundation awards grants to local organisations whose projects help to promote swimming in local communities. The grants awarded provide much needed financial support for community swimming programmes across the UK.

In May 2020, The Swimathon Foundation are supporting small swimming and aquatic organisations that have had or are facing financial impact due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Swimathon Foundation's COVID-19 Relief Fund will launch on 4th May 2020, find out more information here.

Made up of trustees with a passion for sport and backgrounds in community initiatives and recreation programmes, the Foundation aims to make a real difference for both the national and local charities it supports.

“As Trustees, we are immensely grateful for the support we receive from swimmers, often over many years. It is your support that drives us to not only provide an excellent swimming experience but also make sure we use the valuable funds you raise wisely and effectively.” 

Anthony Kendall, OBE Chairman of Trustees

Swimathon Community Grants Scheme

The Foundation works in partnership with Swim England to help promote and distribute its funding for community swimming programmes – bringing much needed support to swimming programmes across the UK.

“We are incredibly excited to offer this Community Grants Scheme which will encourage hundreds of local community groups and clubs to think of new ways to promote swimming as a fun and healthy activity for all. We hope this innovative new partnership will persuade many more people to take up and enjoy swimming in the future, as well as challenge existing swimmers to further their involvement in swimming programmes.” Ralph Riley, Trustee

Learn more about the Swimathon Community Grants Scheme.

The Important Legal Bit

The Swimathon Foundation owns the assets comprising of Swimathon, Open Water Swimathon and School Swimathon, which includes: intellectual property, commercial rights, data and confidential information. The Swimathon Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity (Reg No 1123870). The Foundation, through its wholly owned trading company Swimathon (Trading) Limited, has delegated the organisation, operation, management and promotion of all three events to its appointed event management company, Limelight Sports Ltd.

The major benefiting charity pays a rights fee to the trading company and this fee, together with event entry fees and a cost contribution from The Foundation, meets the cost of running Swimathon. The charitable funds raised are held and distributed separately in agreed proportions to the major benefitting charity (or charities) and to The Swimathon Foundation. Any funds received by The Foundation are held for the purposes of sustaining the Swimathon event and running The Foundation’s own grants scheme.

The competitive selection process is by invitation only and the choice of Charity is the decision of the Trustees. The Charity beneficiaries are Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie who will be the official charity partners of Swimathon until 2021.