OLYMPIC swimmers, Duncan Goodhew and Mark Foster, and BBC Breakfast sports reporter, Mike Bushell, joined Christ’s Hospital school pupils on Wednesday for a swimathon promotion to be broadcast on the BBC Breakfast show.
The swimmers joined pupils at Bluecoats Health and Fitness Club to recreate some of the swimming categories of the 1900s, including the plunge, the under water swim and the obstacle, which have now been dropped from the Olympics.
Ben Way, who organised the swimathon said Christ’s Hospital have been one of the biggest school supporters of the Sport Relief swimathon over the last few years.
He said: “Considering there are 644 pools around the country taking part, to be one of the biggest school pools involved is a big achievement.
“People who do a 2.5 to 5km swim will be doing it for Marie Curie. This is the first time we have had a swimming option as well as a running option and we already have a few thousand people involved and we are hoping that’ll be tens of thousands by the time of the event.”
Duncan Goodhew, captain of the Great Britain swim team at the 1980 Olympic Games, said that it is easier than ever to get involved in swimming for Sport relief.
He said: “It is just a lot of fun with the added benefit of helping sport relief and Marie Curie. There are no excuses. If you like swimming and you want to get fit in advance to the event, then dive in.
“The new ‘simply swim’ event allows people to swim as far as they want, where ever they want, making it much easier for everyone to get involved. You can swim with the family or work colleagues. That’s the great thing about swimming is being able to do it together.”
The gold medallist in the 100 metres breaststroke and bronze medallist in the 4x100 metre medley relay set up and secured funding for the Youth Sport Trust and his successful Swimathon campaign has raised millions since it began in 1988.
The MBE award winner now regularly visits schools giving inspirational speeches to children after overcoming hurdles including losing all his hair aged ten and suffering from dyslexia in his own childhood.
Mark Foster, 38, professional swimmer for Britain, specialising in butterfly and freestyle at 50 metres, said that the old fashioned swimming costumes that he and Mike were fashioning at the Bluecoat Health and Fitness club, were Mike’s idea.
He said: “It helped us to get into character. When I did strictly come dancing I had to wear sequins to get into character. Compared to the modern swimming costumes I wore in the Olympics, they were pretty pre-historic.
Amongst the most successful British swimmers of all-time, Mark made a comeback at the national championships in July 2007 winning both events he competed in and achieved the fifth best time in the world in 2007 at 50 metres freestyle and retired for the second time after the 2008 Olympics.
Mark said: “Swimming could save your life. I go to a lot of schools and talk to kids who sit and learn Maths and English and all these subjects but swimming is a life skill that people need to learn.
“It also helps to break down barriers as it encourages people to feel confident with their bodies even if they are a little bit over weight because the water hides that.”