Purley Swimathon 2020 - FAQs

The Purley Swimathon has been running for 32 years and is a fun event that brings a very diverse community together. It attracts over 50 teams, 400+ swimmers and generates over £20,000 each year which is distributed to various local charities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is a Swimathon?
A Swimathon involves a Team swimming continuously for 55 minutes with only one member of the Team being in the water at a time. A Swimathon is not a marathon; it is a FUN event!

Who organises the Purley Rotary Swimathon? 
Purley Rotary (Registered Charity Number 803700) organises the annual Swimathon. This is Purley Rotary’s biggest annual fundraising event that brings people from Purley and surrounding communities together.

Who can take part? 
Teams can include swimmers from the age of 8 to 80+ of various abilities and competence.

Is there a fee to join? 
Generally each team pays, up front, £25  per lane to secure a place. The full deposit will be refunded to teams after participation in the Swimathon 2020. Deposits are non-refundable for all cancellations made after Sunday, 26th January 2020 and for non-participating teams.  The organiser may, depending on circumstances, waiver this requirement.

What about Risk Assessment and Safeguarding at this event? 
Purley Rotary has been organising the Swimathon since 1988. A thorough Risk Assessment is done for this event by the club. A copy of Purley Rotary's Risk Assessment will be uploaded on the table below in due course for participating Teams to access. Key Volunteers and key point Volunteers are DBS check and hold DBS (enhanced) certificates.

Does Purley Rotary have adequate insurance to cover incidents and accidents at this event? 
Yes, Purley Rotary has adequate Public Liability Insurance for the Swimathon 2020 and all other events. We are covered further by Purley Leisure Centre’s insurance. A copy of Purley Rotary's insurance certificate (valid from 01 July 2019 - 30 June 2020) has been uploaded on the table below for participating Teams to access.

Are there any rules of the Swimathon? 
• All swimmers taking part in the Swimathon must be able swimmers!  
• Teams and Individuals do not swim against each other.  
• The aim is to swim as many lengths (25 metres) as possible for 55    minutes.  
• There are no hard and fast rules about how a Team organises itself.  
• Most swim a length in turn; others might want to split the time between them.  
• There are no prizes for the Team completing the most lengths.  
• Each Team member receives a certificate to commemorate their participation.  
• The aim is to have fun and raise money for charities.

What is the minimum and maximum Team size? 
Each Team MUST have at least 5 members, but no more than 10.

Where does the Swimathon take place? 
The Swimathon is held at the Purley Leisure Centre, 50 High Street, Purley, CR8 2AA

How often does the Swimathon take place? 
Purley Rotary’s Swimathon takes place two days in a year – usually on two Saturday evenings.

When is the 2020 Swimathon taking place? 
The 2020 Swimathon is taking place on Saturday, 7th March 2020 (3.00 pm – 7.00 pm) and Saturday, 14th March 2020 (3.00 pm – 6.00 pm).

How do I enter? 
Simply fill in the Entry Form (click here to download) and e-mail it back to Purley Rotary as soon as possible. The quicker we receive your form, the better your chances are of getting your requested slot.

Is there a deadline for handing in Team Entry Form/s?  
We would like Entry Form/s, along with your refundable deposit cheque/s, to be sent back to Purley Rotary as soon as possible, ideally 4 weeks before the scheduled event date.

Can I encourage new Teams to join Purley Rotary’s Swimathon? 
Of course you can. Previous Teams are Swimathon ambassadors for Purley Rotary. Please do spread the word around about our work and encourage new Teams to join one of our best community events.

I don’t want to take part in the Swimathon; can I still support Purley Rotary by making a donation?  
Of course you can! To donate, click here.

When do I have to join by? 
We would like returning Teams to return their entry forms to Purley Rotary as soon as possible. Having entries on time helps us plan this event better. We have 48 lanes available in 2020, which will be allocated on a ‘first-come-first-served-basis’. Given the popularity of this event, we expect lanes to fill up very quickly.

Can I enter as an Individual? 
No, you cannot enter as an Individual. You have to form a Team or find a Team that is already taking part.

How do I enter a Team? 
If you know of a group of people who enjoy swimming, you can form your own Team and enter them as a group.

How many Teams can each organisation enter? 
To encourage wider community participation, we usually limit entries to six Teams only per organisation. However, if we are unable to fill our available slots, we would be happy to allow each organisation to enter more Teams. The decision to allow more than six Teams per organisation rests with Purley Rotary’s Swimathon Committee.

Do we need a Team Captain? 
Yes, every Team needs a Team Captain who is willing to take responsibility of their Team swimmers. They are also the person responsible for collecting sponsorship forms and money from Team members after the event is over. Each Team Captain is also the sole point of contact for Purley Rotary.

What else does the Team Captain have to do? 
Team Captains are encouraged to keep their respective Team/s informed of all communication, updates and instructions sent by Purley Rotary.

Which day / time slot can I have? 
On your entry form, we ask you to list two choices in order of preference. Dates and timings are allocated to Teams on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis so the sooner you return your completed entry forms, the more likely you are to get the slots you request.

Can I choose any lane/s I want for my Team/s? 
For health and safety reasons, some lanes are reserved for Teams with special needs. The rest of the lane allocation happens on a ‘first-come-first-served' basis. We cannot guarantee specific lanes to Teams.

Will someone log the number of lengths swum by each Team? 
Purley Rotary Members will be logging the total number of lengths swum by each Team; they WILL NOT log number of lengths swum by individuals. A copy of the log sheet will be given to each Team Captain at the end of their swim.

On average, how many lengths does a Team swim in 55 minutes? 
On average, a Team of swimmers tends to swim between 75 and 100 lengths. The Purley Swimathon record currently stands at 222 lengths swum in 55 minutes which was set in 2018 by a Team from St. Giles School. We are always looking for a Team of strong swimmers to break this record. If you think you are up to it, please come and have a go!

How many Teams are likely to take part? 
In 2019, we had 42 participating Teams with 400+ swimmers. In 2020, we are expecting many more Teams to take part.

Which Teams have taken part in the past? 
A list of Charities, Churches, Schools, Clubs, Organisations, Guides, Scouts & Youth Groups who have taken part in previous years is listed on the General Information form. Please click here for a list.

How much sponsorship money does each swimmer and/or Team have to raise? 
There is no fixed recommended amount per swimmer and/or Team. We do encourage everyone to do their best to help Rotary in their biggest annual fundraising event. We need your funds to help our community! In 2019, we raised around £24,000 (including Gift Aid) which was an average of £500 per Team.

Who receives our Team sponsorship money? 
60% of sponsorship obtained by your Team will go to the charity or organisation chosen by you. 40% of sponsorship obtained will be kept by Purley Rotary to distribute to various local and International charities. You may also donate your entire sponsorship money to Purley Rotary if you wish.

Gift Aid for all donations made (where Gift Aid can be claimed back legally) is claimed by Purley Rotary directly from HMRC. The Gift Aid amount is kept back by the club and is distributed to  nominated charities every year by Purley Rotary. The two nominated charities in 2020 are Daniel Spargo-Mabbs & Mind in Croydon.

How much money do we receive? 
Your chosen organisation will receive 60% of the total sponsorship money raised (minus any credit / debit card charges imposed by Virgin Money Giving.) Any Gift Aid claimed back from HMRC is not included in the 60% given back to each Team.

How do I collect sponsorship money? 
Keeping our environment in mind, Rotary would like you to stay green wherever possible. We encourage you to obtain sponsorship online via the Rotary site especially set up. (see link below) Apart from being the easiest and quickest way of raising money, this also saves you the hassle of having to chase up money afterwards. Where unavoidable, you can accept donations by cash or cheque. Cash and cheque donations have to be logged on individual sponsorship forms. Please click here for a sponsorship form.

Can we use Purley Rotary’s marketing and publicity material to attract swimmers for our Team? 
Yes, you can. As a participant, you are very welcome to share all / any publicity material that is posted on our Social media pages and also on our website. Please follow and like our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Will this event get any publicity in the local press? 
Our PR person tries to get press coverage for the Swimathon every year. Whilst we make every effort for local coverage, we cannot guarantee publicity in the local press.

How do I set up a fundraising page for my Team? 
It is very easy to set-up a fundraising page for each Team taking part in the Swimathon 2020. To set up your own Team fundraising page, click on the 'Start Fundraising' button after clicking here.

We have never taken part in a Swimathon before. Can we attend a Trial session? 
Yes, you can. Some of our new Teams have booked a lane at the Purley Leisure Centre for an hour to organise a trial Swimathon months before the actual event. Lanes are available to book on Thursdays at the Purley Leisure Centre between 6.00 pm – 8.30 pm at £19 per lane per hour. Please contact Purley Leisure Centre directly on 020 8668 7251 to make a booking. For more info, please visit: Purley Leisure Centre

Can I use public Transport to reach the Purley Leisure Centre? 
Yes, you can. Purley Leisure Centre is well connected both by Train and by bus. Train: Purley Rail Station. Buses: 60, 127, 166, 405, 407, 412, 434, 455, 466, 289 and 612 stop within 1 - 5 minutes walking distance of the pool.

Is there parking nearby on the day of the Swimathon? 
Yes, there is plenty of parking available near the Purley Leisure Centre. You can park at Purley Tesco for free for up to three hours. There is also paid parking on the multi-story car park 2 minutes away from the Purley Leisure Centre. Limited off-street parking is also available near the pool.

What does the swimmer have to bring with them on the day of the Swimathon? 
Each swimmer has to bring their swimming kits, towels, a drink, snacks and a few 20p coins (non-refundable) for a locker.

Can our swimmers buy swimming caps at the Purley Leisure Centre on the day of the Swimathon? 
Swimmers, who like wearing swimming caps, must bring their own with them on the day of the Swimathon. These are not available for sale at the Purley Leisure Centre.

When do swimmers taking part have to arrive? 
Swimmers are encouraged to be at the Purley Leisure Centre 30 minutes before their start time e.g. if your Team swim starts at 7.00 pm, please arrive at the pool by 6.30 pm.

When are swimmers likely to finish? 
The Purley Rotary Swimathon runs like clockwork and will finish 55 minutes after you start swimming. It often takes between 15 – 30 minutes after the swim to get showered and changed.

Can our friends and family watch our Team/s swim? 
Yes, there is a viewing gallery at the pool. Friends and family are very welcome to watch and cheer their Team swimmers. Banners to cheer Teams are very welcome too!

Can we take pictures of our Team swimming? 
Due to safeguarding issues, not everyone is allowed to take pictures on the day. Purley Rotary will have an official photographer who will be taking pictures on the day. Anyone who wants to take pictures on the day must sign a form in advance. Please click here to download the consent form. This needs to be handed in to Purley Rotary before the event.

If our swimmers are under 18, is there anything we need to do as Team Captain?
Yes, if you have any under 18 swimmers in your team, they must be supervised by an adult (from within your organisation) from start to finish including keeping an eye on them in the changing rooms.

Can we help Purley Rotary in any other way on the day of the Swimathon?
The Swimathon is a large scale event and we do rely on an army of Volunteer helpers on the day to run this event smoothly. We are always looking for lane counters and anyone who has an enhanced DBS (both for children and adults) can help with our changing room inspections. Please do get in touch with Purley Rotary if you can help.

Do we have to bring our sponsorship forms with us on the day of our Swimathon? 
No, you don’t. Please come to the Swimathon with your swimming kit, friends, family and enthusiasm. Your Swimathon sponsorship forms will be collected from you once you have received all your sponsorship money.

What does one have to do for Gift Aid to be claimed on donations made by cash or cheque? 
Please ensure that the person making a cash or cheque donation ticks the box titled ‘Gift Aid’. They must also write down their full name, address including post code and be a tax payer. For every pound donated, Purley Rotary can claim a further 25p from HMRC if the donor signs the gift aid box properly.

When does Purley Rotary want our sponsorship forms and money back? 
We would like all sponsorship forms and money to be returned to Purley Rotary by the 31st of May 2020.

Who should the cheque/s be made payable to? 
All Swimathon sponsorship cheques should be made payable to the ‘The Rotary Club of Purley Trust Fund’ and handed over to Purley Rotary along with your completed Swimathon sponsorship forms.

Who do I hand over cash donations to? 
All cash donations can be handed over to Purley Rotary along with your completed Swimathon sponsorship forms.

What else does Purley Rotary need from each Team and Team Captain? 
Chasing up Swimathon sponsorship forms has been a real challenge in previous years. If there is one thing all Teams and Team Captains can help with, it is returning the completed sponsorship forms along with collected money / cheques to Purley Rotary by the 31st of May 2020 latest.

When will we receive our certificates and 60% sponsorship money?
We will send back a cheque payable to your chosen organisation within 4 weeks of receiving your Teams completed Swimathon sponsorship forms and money.  

Which teams took part in 2019?

  • 17th Purley Scouts Group
  • 19th Purley Scouts Group
  • 29th Purley Cubs
  • 450 (Kenley) Squadron
  • Anerley Cycling Club
  • Coulsdon Manor Rotary Club
  • Croydon Voluntary Association for the Blind.
  • Cumnor House School
  • John Stradling's Team
  • Julius Baer
  • London Fire Brigade
  • Mother's Union Purley
  • Nonsuch School PTA
  • Purley BID
  • Purley Food Hub
  • Purley Rotary
  • Purley Youth Project
  • Rotary Club of Croydon Whitgift
  • Seaton House School
  • SeeAbility
  • South East Cancer Help Centre
  • Spread Some Sunshine
  • St. Giles School
  • Wallington County Grammar School
  • Wilson's School PFA
  • Wilson's School CCF
  • Wilson's School Staff
Who can we contact if we have any queries not listed above?
Please contact Purley Rotary if you have any further queries that are not listed above. Thank you!

Forms & Documents:


Entry Form - PDF | Word

Complete and submit to secure a lane.

General Information - PDF

Background about Purley Rotary's Swimathon.

Instruction for Swimmers - PDF

For preparation in advance.

Photographer Consent Form - PDF | Word

If you want to take your own pictures.

Sponsorship & Gift Aid Declaration Form - PDF | Word

To collect donations for your Team/s.

Risk Assessment Form - PDF

Legally required to run events.

Insurance Certificate - PDF

Legally required to run events.

Poster - JPG

Please help us spread the word!

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