Stradbroke swimming centre signs-up more than 100 for 30th Swimathon supported by soprano Laura Wright

Len Phoenix and Maria Smith are inviting more people to sign up for Swimathon at Stradbroke Swim and

Len Phoenix and Maria Smith are inviting more people to sign up for Swimathon at Stradbroke Swim and Fitness Centre. Picture: SIMON PARKER

A small Suffolk swimming pool is once again among the best represented in the country for a charity challenge in the fight against cancer.

Swimmers gathered at Stradbroke Swim and Fitness Centre for last year's Swimathon

Swimmers gathered at Stradbroke Swim and Fitness Centre for last year's Swimathon - Credit: cont

Stradbroke Swim and Fitness Centre, in the north of the county, has signed up more than 100 entrants in this year’s Swimathon - placing it in the top 10 of all 600-plus events taking place nationally.

Len Phoenix, a swimming coach and winner of more than 1,000 competitive medals, will be taking part in his 29th Swimathon at the Stradbroke centre and is appealing for more to sign up.

He says Stradbroke’s history with the event is “second to none”.

“We are a little microdot in the middle of nowhere and yet we consistently make the top five out of 640 pools nationally,” he added.

Sporting soprano Laura Wright, pictured at The Great East Swim, is a Swimathon ambassador. Picture:

Sporting soprano Laura Wright, pictured at The Great East Swim, is a Swimathon ambassador. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

“It’s enormous fun and in Stradbroke we think we are one of the best organised events in the country.

“We go out of our way to organise it properly, make people feel welcome and enjoy the whole experience.”

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Over the years, Stradbroke has regularly attracted more than 150 entrants to its Swimathons and during its busiest events can raise more than £10,000 for charity. This year’s charity is Marie Curie, which provides care and support for people living with terminal illness and their families.

Mr Phoneix says people of all ages from as young as two to well into their 80s, take part. He says there is a “hardcore” of participants who have entered many times.

This year’s Swimathon, which takes place April 7-9, is the 30th anniversary for the charity event, in which people sign-up to swim a range of distances for sponsorship.

Sporting soprano Laura Wright, who attended Framlingham College, is urging swimmers of all ages and abilities to take part.

“Being an ambassador for this year’s Swimathon I know that it is going to be a wonderful event which I’m really looking forward to,” she said.

“One of the reasons I wanted to help show my support for Swimathon and Marie Curie is to show the impact taking part can have, not only on your health, but also in helping raise money and awareness for Marie Curie to care for people living with a terminal illness and their families.

“With this being the 30th Swimathon it would be fantastic to make this the biggest year yet, so get your friends and family involved and sign up for a challenge today.”

Swimathon President and Olympic gold-medallist Duncan Goodhew added: “It will be a really special event being the 30th Swimathon and I look forward to seeing swimmers of all ages and abilities coming together to raise vital funds for Marie Curie to continue their work caring for people living with any terminal illness, and their families.”

Full details about Swimathon can be found here.

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