What is the Rotary MK Swimathon?

  • It’s an annual fun day that’s raised half a million pounds for local charities since 1994.
  • Each year, 7 or 8 local charities are identified to benefit from the Swimathon.
  • 26 February 2022 will be Rotary MK’s 28th Swimathon.
  • It’s free to enter and held at Wolverton Pool.
  • 50+ teams of up to six swim on a relay basis for 55 minutes in a 25-metre pool.
  • No special swimming ability is needed.
  • Children of any age are welcome but must have parental permission.
  • A smaller event for swimmers needing assistance is organised by the Newport Pagnell Assisted Swim Club, which will be held at Middleton Pool on 12 March 2022. This also raises money for the chosen charities.

The 2022 charities

Bus Shelter MK

Since this local charity opened the doors of ‘the bus’ in 2018, they have provided accommodation and support to almost 100 people. In January, they began operating from a new, long-term home with 9 individual bedrooms, and the old bus has been retired. They would put the Swimathon funds towards their Moving On/Staying Safe Fund, which makes sure someone finding accommodation after street homelessness has the basic household items and on-going support they need.

MK Safety Centre (Hazard Alley)

This charity provides essential safety education to children, young people and adults. Every child who visits Hazard Alley is given a workbook after their visit, with follow-up activities to reinforce their experiences and the knowledge and skills they have acquired. The workbook is due for updating and the money raised from the Swimathon will help to meet the £10,000 cost of producing 20,000 copies of the new edition in 2022.


This charity has supported the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans community in Milton Keynes since the 1980s, long before we all benefitted from the inclusion and equality of today. Funding raised from the Swimathon will support Q:alliance’s youth groups, which help young LGBT people to reach their potential, and support their families and friends, so that we all have an equal stake in a diverse and inclusive city.


The mission of this MK-based charity is to empower children and young people who are in treatment for cancer. A team of volunteer artists customise canvas shoes which reflect each child’s hobbies and interests. These ‘Supershoes’ restore a sense of self, boost confidence and encourage mobility, while improving well-being. Swimathon funds will be used to meet the high number of referrals at a time when normal donations are down.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance (Mayor’s charity)

This charity is at the front line of saving lives. Their highly-trained team gives the best chance when the worst happens. Within minutes, they bring the expertise, equipment and treatment of the hospital to the scene. It costs on average £3,750 to send their helicopter on each mission, so the money raised by the Swimathon will enable them to provide urgent critical care to the next person who needs them.

Transitions UK

This charity supports disadvantaged young people at risk (aged 15 – 25) to ensure they transition to healthy, happy and fulfilled adult lives. Its ‘Attain’ project for care leavers and its new ‘Aspire’ youth offending project would benefit hugely from the additional income from the Swimathon, by offering extra activities that provide support towards personal development and growth, such as camping and team-building, or digital support for emotional well-being.

Willen Hospice

The pandemic has posed huge challenges to Willen Hospice in raising the funds it needs to enable its team to continue to provide the compassionate, high quality end-of-life care for patients and their families for which they are so well known. Experimentation with contactless devices has proved a game-changer in approaches to fund-raising and the Swimathon money will be used to support the costs of these.

Raising the money

Each swimmer collects sponsorship from family, friends, work colleagues, corporate donations, etc. by:

  • Online sponsorship via Just Giving, which claims 25% Gift Aid automatically on all eligible donations, and/or
  • Using Rotary MK’s sponsorship form and bringing the money to the event or paying it into Rotary MK’s Swimathon bank account. The Club claims Gift Aid from HMRC.

Using Just Giving

Go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/mkswimathon2022.

  • If you just want to make a donation, click on “Give now”. Please make sure that you mention which team you are supporting. Then, when MK Rotary Club collects the information from Just Giving’s report, we will be able to calculate how much each team has raised. Without that information, we won’t be able to credit your team.
  • If you want to create your own individual swimmer page or team page, click on “Start fundraising”. Other people can then make donations to this page, which will be forwarded to MK Rotary’s main Swimathon page, with an automatic record of which swimmer or team is being sponsored.

Sponsorship form

You can print off as many copies as you wish of the sponsorship form below. Each swimmer should use a separate form (or more than one form, numbering the sheets in the top right corner). It’s important to fill in the team name and the swimmer’s name and number. Please make sure that every sponsor who pays income tax fills in their house number and postcode and circles ‘Yes’ under ‘Eligible for gift aid’. Without this information, we cannot claim gift aid, which adds 20% to a donation.

Download Sponsorship Form

Guidance for team captains and swimmers

  • Each swimmer should be able to swim 50 metres. The length of the pool is 25 metres and although most swimmers only swim one length at a time, the water gets quite choppy.
  • Please arrive at the pool 20 minutes before your swim time. Meet together in the foyer and if you are using sponsorship forms hand them over to your team captain.
  • Team captains register their teams at the Swimathon reception desk and hand in all sponsorship forms. If any swimmer has a medical condition that needs reporting (e.g. epilepsy) please inform the receptionist.
  • Team captains will be issued with a lane card which is handed to the pool manager at the pool entrance.
  • Only swimmers and designated helpers can enter the pool area unless a small child is swimming and needs a parent/carer to be there. Spectators, including non-swimming team captains, please use the spectator area.
  • When using the changing rooms, Wolverton pool recommend that you leave valuable belongings in the lockers provided. A £1 coin is required to operate the locker (refundable when the locker is emptied). A wristband with key is then released. Non-valuable clothing in a suitable bag can be brought to the poolside.
  • After changing, all swimmers should assemble poolside and report to the pool manager’s desk. The team captain gives the lane card to the pool manager and decides at which end swimmers should stand and who swims first. The lanes will be clearly identified.
  • In the interest of safety, all swimmers and spectators are asked to follow the Wolverton pool staff’s instructions. The pool manager and Swimathon stewards are also responsible for activities in the pool area and we ask that you please follow their instructions also.
  • Refreshments are available adjacent to the spectator areas. It is not recommended to drink alcohol or take any drugs before swimming.
  • A quick changeover is essential. Please help by leaving the pool area promptly after your swim, taking all your possessions with you.
  • After the swim, team captains should collect a pack from the reception desk, which will contain swimmers’ returned sponsorship forms and certificates endorsing the numbers of lanes swum.

Rotary Club of Milton Keynes’ Commitment

  • No Rotarian receives any payment for their involvement in the Swimathon.
  • Less than 3% of the sponsorship total is used to cover the major costs to run the Swimathon, such as trophies, certificates, medals and stationery.
  • About 10% of the sponsorship total is transferred to Rotary MK’s charity fund to be used throughout the year to provide many small donations to local charities.
  • The remaining 85%+ is divided between the Milton Keynes charities selected for the year as listed on the sponsorship form. The size of the allocation to each charity is based upon the:            
    • Total sponsorship available                                                     
    • Sponsorship raised by the charity                                                        
    • Number of sponsored swimmers entered by the charity            
    • Amount required for the project the charity wishes to undertake           
    • Amount of additional support the charity provides on Swimathon day (e.g. lane clicking).

A charity will always receive in excess of the total sponsorship raised by their own teams.