Buoy of Giving

Bombay Gymkhana Swimming Club to host pool swimathon.

Written by Smita Nair | Published:October 7, 2012 2:53 am

Bombay Gymkhana Swimming Club to host pool swimathon

For three years now Reena Agrawal,honorary secretary at the Bombay Gymkhana Swimming Club,had been toying with an idea to organise a pool swimathon. The idea is finally making a splash on Sunday.

She has intertwined the Joy of Giving week — October 2 to October 8 — with her pet idea.

“It remained an idea for long. This week,with Joy of Giving,we decided to swim for a cause,” says Agrawal.

On Sunday,swimmers across the city enrolled through four swimming clubs and several NGOs will participate in a unique 600-lap,25-km swimathon,all for a cause.

The event moves away from the tradition of cutting a ribbon to kickstart it. The swimathon will start with the gymkhana’s president’s lap,followed by the committee lap and a lap by Agrawal herself,for whom leaping into the water and enjoying a swim comes as naturally as breathing.

The Bombay Gymkhana pool — it has even hosted a water polo — is 20 metres long. One lap will be of two lengths and there will be six lanes. “Each swimmer is open to continue swimming as far stamina allows and stick to the lane. Once the swimmer is done,another will take up from there. One can do one lap or more and each lane will then be counted for hundred laps,with six lanes making it six hundred. We expect it to be over in two hours,” Agrawal adds.

It’s the first time a team event like this is being organized and the Gymkhana has registered swimmers through four other clubs in the city. Swimmers who have no club membership can enter the event through NGOs. Among the NGOs that have pledged support through the event are Ummeed,which works for children with developmental disabilities,Down to Earth,which empowers slum kids,Under the Mango Tree,which promotes apiculture to increase agricultural productivity and generate employment,and Concern India Foundation,an umbrella organization that supports 200 grassroot NGOs.

“If I were to imagine this Sunday,the pool will be a festive corner,” says Agrawal.

Fitness is the theme and there will be no wine on the menu. There will be plenty of honey though,with a variety of honey available at the counter. There will also be an exhibition of art by children around the pool. “They can swim and then start making anything they want. We will showcase their art around the pool. It’s about enjoying the day,enjoying the event and owning the pool,” she adds.

The young and the old and people from all walks of life can enter the event. “We have eased rules a bit. Participants can use floats and flippers. They just need to swim. We want them inside the pool,” she says with a laugh.

A day ahead of the event,she said,“I already feel a positive vibe. Swimming is the best way to fitness. Water gives you buoyancy. It’s less painful than other exercises. We have so many students who have come forward as volunteers. It’s heartening,” she adds.

“There is abundant enthusiasm. We have already created a system for pledges,donations and fundraising. An anonymous donor has announced Rs 1,000 for every swimmer NGOs get to the event. They will also get funds based on maximum swimmers they can get,” she says.

For anyone who walks into the pool on Sunday morning,there are free doughnuts,courtesy a sponsor. “It’s an event. We are giving. We want to sensitise the youth. Inside the pool,with lanes dividing the laps,it will be all about how you collectively contribute. We want to express the idea of sharing,in life. We will do that by swimming.That is what we do best,” she adds.

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