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Stradbroke swimmers raise more than £7,000

Len Phoenix and Maria Smith, organisers of Swimathon event in Stradbroke .
Len Phoenix and Maria Smith, organisers of Swimathon event in Stradbroke .

The organisers of an annual swimming event have thanked their supporters for helping it become one of the best in the country.

Len Phoenix and Maria Smith said the support of the community and swimmers in Stradbroke for the annual Swimathon had been “absolutely amazing” - announcing the pool had raised £7,182 from this year’s event in May.

It is also the second year Everyone Active Stradroke Swim and Fitness Centre has come within the top three best attended events in the country and was supported by 220 swimmers, all raising money for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.

The event in Stradbroke began some 25 years ago. Since Len and Maria took over the organisation four years ago, it has raised nearly £35,000 alone.

“The support from swimmers and the community has been absolutely amazing, and we can’t thank everyone enough,” said Len, 69.

“For a small 20-metre four-lane pool in a sports centre in a small village to come within the top three pools in the country for the second year running is such an achievement. It really puts Stradbroke on the map.

“As soon as you mention Swimathon here in Stradbroke, the immediate reaction is: ‘yes, we will do it’. Many people have been coming back year after year, even those who have left the area.”

For Len, who only took up swimming at 40, this year’s event also marked a personal milestone as he swam his 30th Swimathon. He has also competed locally, regionally and nationally since taking up the sport.

Maria, 48, meanwhile, has now completed 27 Swimathons. Both are instructors at the pool.

“The enthusiasm here is contagious and there is always such a great atmosphere, making for a great event,” she said.

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