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Swimming at the heart of charity fundraising challenges

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

Ocean swimming in Australia can trace its roots back to charity fundraising.

It was predominately NSW surf clubs in the early days that started to put on ocean swims as a way to raise funds to assist in the delivery of the volunteer lifesaving services they provided to the public.

It could be said that ocean swims have played their part in saving lives throughout the country.

These days, ocean swimming and fundraising continues to be at the heart of the sport. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a surf club-run event to also be supporting another community charity.

Non-surf lifesaving charities have also got on board with using ocean swim events as fundraisers, with two of the most popular being the Rainbow Club’s Malabar Magic and the Balmoral Swim For Cancer.

In the mid-2000’s cancer charity CanToo took ocean swimming and fundraising into another space, this time participants could raise money in return for training towards a goal ocean swim event.

The most recent swimming-related charity fundraisers have been the virtual swimming challenges, where participants commit to swimming a certain distance and have their friends and family ‘sponsor’ them.

Right now in Australia, there are no less than five swimming fundraisers you can get involved in.

If you’d like to swim for a charity this summer, take your pick from one (or more) of these challenges.

Starlight Super Swim

Charity: Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia.

Starlight’s mission is to brighten the lives of sick kids and their families across Australia.

Website: superswim.org.au

Period: 1 – 28 February 2022

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!

Splash The Stigma

Charity: batyr.

A for purpose preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people.

Website: splashthestigma.com.au

Period: 25 – 27 February 2022

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!

Raise $250 or more to receive a pair of our epic new Splash the Stigma Budgy Smugglers!

Laps For Life

Charity: ReachOut Australia

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

Website: lapsforlife.com.au

Period: 1 – 31 March 2022

Sign up as an individual, with your colleagues, family or friends, 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.


Charity: Chris O’Brien Lifehouse / The SurFebruary Foundation

SurFebruary is on a mission to improve the lives of those diagnosed with cancer by funding inspiring and innovative research that benefits all Australians.

Website: surfebruary.com

Period: 1 – 28 February 2022

SurFebruary is a fun annual event in February, where participants raise money for cancer research by catching a wave or getting in the water 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.

Team PanKind

Charity: PanKind

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.

Website: pankind.org.au/take-action/sports-fundraising

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

This year, join Team PanKind and get fit while raising vital funds for pancreatic cancer research in 2022.

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.

Other swimming fundraisers

MS Swimathon (March-May 2022) – The MS Swimathon is an action-packed fundraising challenge held in different locations across Queensland, supporting people living with MS.

MS Mega Challenge (Feb-Mar 2022) – Through team relay sports, the MS Mega Challenge raises vital funds to support people living with multiple sclerosis.

  • Written by Ocean Swims on 25 January 2022
  • (Updated on 3 August 2023)

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