The Haywards Heath Lions Club's Swimarathon is an annual charity fundraising event held at the Dolphin Leisure Centre on Good Friday. Teams of six swimmers are invited to swim in a 55-minute-long relay to raise money for a good cause of their own choice and for the Lions' selected good cause.

In 2017, the Lions have chosen to support Chailey Heritage Foundation in their new project - the D.R.E.A.M. Centre.

The D.R.E.A.M. Centre Appeal is an ambitious plan to create a modern and vibrant indoor activity space large enough for children and young people aged 3-25 with very complex disabilities to participate in a mixture of arts and physical activities.

The D.R.E.A.M. Centre will feature a league-recognised sports court for wheelchair football and power chair driving, a raised stage for drama and dance, a built-in trampoline for rebound therapy, a space for celebrations and awards as well as a 4-dimensional immersive sensory learning environment.

More information can be found on the D.R.E.A.M. Centre Appeal website.

Entries for 2018 open in January

The Swimarathon enables teams of swimmers of all ages to raise money for a charity or good cause of their own choice and for the good cause chosen by Haywards Heath Lions Club. The sponsorship money raised by each team is paid to Haywards Heath Lions Club, who then distribute it to the charities and good causes. Half of each team's sponsorship is donated to that team's chosen charity or good cause, and half to the Lions' chosen good cause.

The key objective is to raise as much money as possible while having fun!

Report from the 2017 Swimarathon

In 2017 fifty-seven teams swam 7,836 lengths and raised around £19,000.

Competition winners 2017

CompetitionWinning teamLengths
Age 11 and under3rd Haywards Heath Brownies103
Age 15 and underProbably in the Pool174
Primary schoolManor Field Mixture121
Secondary schoolDownlands201
OpenSplasherdashers197
Family teamBobby Dazzlers106
Swimming Club 15 and underFegan Nuggets219
Swimming Club OpenMarlins Mixed Fish230
Masters 240 yearsMax's Marlins Masters201
Masters 300 yearsEarly Birds172
Entries for 2018 open in January

Frequently asked questions

How does sponsorship work?

Sponsorship is for the whole team, not the individual swimmer.

Can I collect sponsorship online?

Yes, on entry each team will be sent a link to an online sponsorship page.

What do I do when I've collected my sponsorship money?

Please send your sponsorship money to Haywards Heath Lions Club's treasurer whose details were attached to your completed sponsorship form. If you don't have these details please get in touch via the form below and we'll send them on.

When do I have to send in the sponsorship money?

By 14th May.

Can I pay the sponsor money I have collected from my paper forms into My Donate?

No. Because of the way Gift Aid is collected, we need the money from paper sponsor forms to be collected separately from online sponsorship.

Can I collect extra sponsors on My Donate?

Yes, the My Donate pages will remain active until 14th May.

When is the next Swimarathon?

The next swimarathon will take place on Friday 30th March 2018 (Good Friday). The first teams start at 8am and the final teams start at 6pm.

Where does the Swimarathon take place?

The Dolphin (Leisure Centre), Pasture Hill Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1LY.

Who organises the Swimarathon?

2017 will be the 34th year that Haywards Heath Lions Club has run the Swimarathon. Haywards Heath Lions Club is a friendly service organisation, which raises money for good causes mostly within the local area.

How is the sponsorship money collected and distributed?

Each team is given an online donation page by Haywards Heath Lions Club. Paper sponsorship forms are also available if required. The sponsorship money raised by each team is paid to Haywards Heath Lions Club Charity Trust Fund, which then distributes it to the charities and good causes. Half of each team's total sponsorship is donated to that team's chosen charity or good cause by the Lions, and half to the Lions' chosen charity.

Can I give all of my team's sponsorship money to the Haywards Heath Lions' chosen good casuse?

Yes - you can select to give all your team's sponsorship money to the Lions' chosen good cause.

Who is the Lions' chosen good cause for 2017?

This year the Lions have selected Chailey Heritage Foundation's D.R.E.A.M. Centre.

Why is Gift Aid important?

It is important that you ask all your sponsors (if they are UK tax payers) to tick the Gift Aid box (whether they are donating online or on paper). This allows Haywards Heath Lions Club to claim an additional 25p from HMRC on every £1 donated.

How much money does my charity or good cause get?

A team's chosen charity or good cause receives half of the sponsorship money collected by that team. The money will be paid to the charity or good cause by Haywards Heath Lions Club.

Who can I choose for my charity or good cause?

All good causes are welcome. In 2016 teams raised money for causes ranging from local and international charities to local schools, Guides and sports clubs.

How many people should be in a team?

Each team should consist of six swimmers and an adult non-swimming length counter. All seven should collect sponsorship. Other supporters may also collect sponsorship for the team.

Can my team have fewer than six swimmers?

Yes, but your team will not be eligible for the competition.

Who can be in a swimming team?

There are no age restrictions, however the pool is 25m long and swimmers need to be able to complete several one-length swims during the 55 minutes.

What is the format of the Swimarathon?

Teams are allocated a swim time and lane. Each swim starts on the hour and swimmers complete lengths for 55 minutes in a relay style. The non-swimming length-counter keeps a tally of the number of lengths swum by the team.

What do swimmers receive for taking part?

All participants are presented with a medal after their swim. If proof of completion of the swim is needed to collect sponsorship this will be available after the event.

Can I recycle my medal?

Yes. Swimmers can voluntarily return their medal, and Haywards Heath Lions Club will make a donation to the main beneficiary for each one received.

Is there a competetive element to the Swimarathon?

Yes, teams may elect to enter one category of competition, which can be seen on the application form. Certificates will be awarded to the team which completes the most lengths in each of the categories. The President's Cup will be awarded to the Primary School team completing the most lengths. In 2017 two trophies are being introduced for Secondary Schools, years 7-9 and 10-13. Trophies will be retained by the winning school for 12 months, and then returned.

What are the rules for entering the schools' competitions?

Teams entering the competitions must contain exactly 6 swimmers who are all attending that school at the time of the event, and in the case of secondary schools must be in the appropriate year groups.

What are the rules of the competition?

Teams must have exactly 6 swimmers, who must swim in order, with each swimmer completing their length before the next swimmer starts their length.

What is the record number of lengths swum?

The overall record was broken twice during the 2015 swimarathon and now stands at 250 lengths. The record for a 15-and-under team is 220 lengths. Teams aiming to break a record must notify Haywards Heath Lions Club in advance.

How long has the Swimarathon been running?

The 2017 Swimarathon will be our 34th consecutive year running the event.

How much money was raised last year?

The 2016 swimarathon raised £23,492.71. The Lions' chosen beneficiaries, Neil's Club and Kangaroos No Limits, were given £7,500 each.

Can I help on the day?

Yes! Please use the contact form below if you'd like to volunteer to help for all or part of the day.

Can I or my employer sponsor the Swimarathon?

Yes! Please use the contact form below.

Contact us