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YMCA Swimathon launches on International Day of People with Disability

YMCA Swimathon launches on International Day of People with Disability
December 3, 2014

The YMCA will today launch its 2015 Swimathon program - coinciding with United Nations International Day of People with Disability.

Each year the YMCA Swimathon encourages people of all ages and abilities to swim laps to help prevent drowning by raising funds to ensure more people young people get the chance to learn vital swimming and water safety skills.

The YMCA’s only national fundraising event, Swimathon is committed to raising $250,000 to support more than 1,600 people with a disability, in 61 pools around Australia.

The YMCA wants people of all ages and abilities to experience how fun it is to learn to swim and be safe around water through the implementation providing access to of programs, equipment and the upskilling of swimming instructors to supportuit people with disabilities.

Launching Swimathon today at the YMCA Derrimut Health & Aquatic Centre in Victoria, 12 year old Maddison Parker and her younger sister Kayla, aged 9, are two girls are committed to swimming laps and raising money to support people with disabilities learn to swim and be safe around water.

At the 2014 YMCA Swimathon, the pair, who have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, swam 3 kilometres between them and raised $2,300 – with Maddy finishing her pledged 2 kilometre swim in spite of dislocating her wrist early in the swim and needing pain relief to finish.

In 2013, the YMCA Swimathon attracted 2,500 participatants across 50 pools and raised $210,000 for their local communities.

In 2015, the YMCA wants to raise more, to help more.

YMCA Australia Chief Executive Ron Mell, who raised almost $1,000 for the cause in 2013, explains "the ability to enjoy water and learn to swim is an important life skill, just like reading or writing.

“But what if you have a disability, come from a country where you may have never seen a pool before, or your parents can't afford lessons?"

Registrations are free and open now at any participating YMCA or online at


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