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Charity swimming challenges to get behind this year

Swim for charity this summer with one of these Australian swimming fundraising challenges.

Ocean swimming in Australia is a huge sport and why wouldn’t it be when we are surrounded by kilometres of beautiful beaches.

Charity fundraising and ocean swimming have a long history dating back to the early years of New South Wales surf lifesaving clubs putting on ocean swim events to help raise funds to assist their volunteer lifesavers to gain access to vital life-saving equipment.

Fast-forward to the present day and ocean swimming events are still largely at the heart of fundraising for local surf lifesaving clubs but we have also seen the addition of non-surf lifesaving charities jump on the fundraising train via ocean swimming events such as the Rainbow Club’s Malabar Magic and Balmoral’s Swim for Cancer.

In 2005, cancer charity CanToo jumped entered the ocean swimming and fundraising space and took it to another level, by giving participants an incentive to raise money while training towards an ocean swimming event.

Since then, we have seen many ocean swimming-related charity fundraisers pop up, encouraging participants to commit to swimming a certain distance while raising money for their chosen charity.

Right now, there are no less than five swimming fundraisers you can get involved with to kick off the new year and see summer out.

Take your pick from one or more of these challenges below.

MS Swimathon

Charity: MS Queensland


Period: October – March

The MS Swimathon is a Queensland-based fundraising initiative where teams of at least four or more people swim in a 12-hour relay to raise vital funds for Queenslanders living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Participants can swim any distance that suits them whether it be 1 or 100 laps and in stroke; freestyle, breaststroke, sidestroke and even doggy paddle.

MS Swimathon events are held in different locations across Queensland from the Gold Coast up to Townsville.

MS Mega Challenge

Charity: MS Australia


Period: November – March

The MS Mega Challenge is one of Australia’s most popular fundraising events. Participants can choose from 16 different swims across ACT, NSW, VIC and TAS. If swimming isn’t your sport there are also sports such as squash, racquetball and badminton to choose from.

Participants can get a relay team together and participate in the 24-hour challenge to support people living with multiple sclerosis.

Team PanKind

Charity: PanKind


Period: Throughout the year – In-person events (not virtual)

PanKind, The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, is the only Foundation in Australia exclusively dedicated to pancreatic cancer, with a mission to dramatically increase survival rates and quality of life for those impacted by the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is now the third biggest cancer killer in Australia and it’s not OK. We are on it, but we need your support to continue to make a difference for people with pancreatic cancer and their families.

Whether you enjoy running, swimming, jogging, walking or a full-on Triathlon, there’s an event to suit every ability somewhere in Australia. Come on board, join in the fun and you’ll be helping to improve the lives of fellow Australians living with pancreatic cancer.


Charity: The SurFebruary Foundation


Period: 1 – 28 February 20223

SurFebruary is a fun annual event in February, where participants raise money for cancer research by catching a wave or getting in the water for a swim every day – rain, hail or shine.

Register solo or rally up a team. It’s quick, easy and free. Plus you’ll get plenty of support along the way. So get onboard! Make an impact whilst having some serious fun.

Laps For Life

Charity: ReachOut Australia


Period: 1 – 31 March 2023

ReachOut is the most accessed online mental health service for young people and their parents in Australia.

It’s as easy as signing up as an individual, with your colleagues, family or friends, and start logging your laps as you work towards your goal, and spread the word and raise funds to prevent youth suicide.
Every dollar that you raise, and every person that you share your Laps for Life journey with, helps ReachOut get that much closer to their goal of helping all young people in Australia be happy and well.

Splash The Stigma

Charity: Batyr. Batyr is a preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people.


Period: 1-28 February 2023

Splash the Stigma brings the community together to promote the positive benefits of exercise for our wellbeing, all whilst having fun and raising vital funds for youth mental health. All you need to do is take a dip, set your goal of how many laps you want to swim and raise funds.

Raise $250 or more to receive a pair of Splash the Stigma Budgy Smugglers or t-shirt!

Starlight Super Swim

Charity: Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia.


Period: 1 – 28 February 2023

Every minute of every day a sick child is admitted into a hospital in Australia. Dive in to go the distance and fundraise for sick kids as part of the Starlight Super Swim Challenge, and your super efforts will help bring a splash of happiness to their lives.

Once you’re signed up you get access to fundraising tips and ideas, helpful training tips and inspiration, access to the community and rewards!

Some of the Starlight Super Swim ambassadors
  • Written by Ocean Swims on 31 January 2023
  • (Updated on 16 August 2023)



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