Olympic Swimmers and Business Leaders to Race Around Hong Kong To Address City’s Chronic Swim Illiteracy
- 5 teams, comprising 30 elite swimmers and business leaders, to undertake challenging 45-kilometre relay swim around Hong Kong Island
- The swim is expected to take 11-13 hours starting in the dark, braving jellyfish and marine traffic
- ‘Make Waves for Hong Kong‘ aims to raise HKD 2.5million for Splash Foundation to provide learn to swim programmes to low income families, children with special educational needs and domestic workers
- Nearly 50% of Hong Kongers do not know how to swim
- See dedicated event page: www.splashfoundation.org/makewaves
HONG KONG, Oct. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On November 4th, five teams of elite swimmers and business leaders, including the likes of Hong Kong Olympic swimmer Camille Cheng and educationalist and investor Philip Sohmen, are coming together to ‘Make Waves for Hong Kong‘, a multi-relay swim around Hong Kong Island. This unique endeavour aims to raise HK$2.5 million for Hong Kong charity Splash Foundation to help address chronic swim illiteracy in the city.
Cheng, fresh from her Asian Games double relay bronzes, and Sohmen, himself a former competitor in both the Hong Kong swimming and water polo teams, will swim with each other to raise money in a bid to give thousands more children and adults the opportunity to learn to swim.
Swimming for Wellbeing
For double Hong Kong Olympic swimmer and mental health advocate, Camille Cheng, this will be her second time leading a relay team for this iconic swim.
“Swimming is much bigger than just times or rankings, ” said Cheng. “The stories from Splash Foundation’s beneficiaries about how swimming impacted them and their mental health resonated with me. By doing this relay, we want to enable thousands of people to utilise swimming as the powerful resource it can be to nurture health and confidence.”
For Sohmen, this will be the first time attempting the swim, facing busy marine traffic, potential adverse weather conditions and jellyfish prone waters.
Sohmen said, “Swimming has had a wonderful positive impact on my life – the physical and mental challenge, the chance to explore new places, or just to relax and rejuvenate – it’s a source of joy that should be shared and made accessible to everyone in our city. We have an opportunity to share that joy through this swim and we invite the community to help us reach our goal of teaching thousands more to swim.”
Chronic Swim Illiteracy in Hong Kong
Despite having the longest coastline of any city and an abundance of swimming pools, around half of Hong Kongers are unable to swim, leaving a significant portion of the population vulnerable to water-related risks and barred from the physical, mental and social wellbeing benefits of being in the water. With Make Waves for Hong Kong, the parties involved are committed to help breaking down financial and cultural barriers and to broaden the community’s opportunities to acquire this life skill.
The beneficiary of the swim, Splash Foundation, has taught over 6,000 people to swim since 2015. Their programmes are free-of-cost to learners across the city and see a 90% success rate at the end of 20 hours of instruction. By supporting the event, sponsors and donors will be contributing directly to the wellbeing of Hong Kong residents and the future swim literacy of the city.
Roy Pang, Chairperson of Splash Foundation, who is also swimming in the relay, said: “Splash provides incredible opportunities for our underprivileged communities to learn key water safety and swimming skills in a uniquely fun and empowering environment. Even though each person’s journey is different, I’ve loved seeing our learners (Splashers) all gain tremendous confidence, resilience and joy at the end of their programs. With Make Waves for Hong Kong, this iconic swim demonstrates the power of swimming to bring people from all walks of life together. I hope our teams’ efforts can inspire more non-swimmers to sign up with Splash, paving the way for stronger, healthier and more active communities in our beloved city.”
‘Make Waves for Hong Kong‘ is scheduled to start in the early morning hours of Saturday November 4th from Sandy Bay, near Cyberport, on the south side of Hong Kong Island. 30 swimmers in five teams will swim continuously for 11-13 hours.
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Quotes from Sponsors:
- Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation: Ms. Nikki Ng, Director of the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, said, “We are delighted to support Splash Foundation’s swim relay event, ‘Make Waves for Hong Kong‘, as we share a common vision in making a positive impact on the local community. We aim to make a meaningful contribution towards enhancing swim literacy in Hong Kong, fostering a safer and healthier community for our future generations.”
- Kiri Capital: “Kiri Capital is delighted to lend our support to the Make Waves for Hong Kong swim relay event, ensuring more Hong Kongers have an opportunity to learn how to swim. This swim will Make Waves for positive change, empowering individuals of all ages and backgrounds.”
- Simpson Marine: Ewa Stachurska, Group Marketing Director of Simpson Marine said: “Simpson Marine is pleased to support and take part in another iconic adventure around Hong Kong Island for Splash Foundation to enable more people to learn to swim and bring wellbeing and positivity to the community. We are proud to have supported Splash over the years and see the organisation grow. Knowing how to swim is at the foundation of the yachting lifestyle and this partnership reflects both our desires to help people connect safely with the treasured resources that is the sea. Let’s Make Waves for Hong Kong!”
About Splash Foundation:
- Splash has taught over 6,000 people how to swim through a targeted curriculum based on building water confidence and water safety skills.
- Splash provides free Learn-to-Swim programmes focused on water safety and wellbeing to low-income communities.
- Splash’s programmes currently serve migrant domestic workers, kids from low income communities and kids with Special Educational Needs (SEN).
- Learn more: www.splashfoundation.org
Key Facts about Swim Illiteracy, Water Safety & Wellbeing Through Swimming:
- Despite having the longest coastline of any city and an abundance of swimming pools, 47% of secondary school students cannot swim (source)
- The majority of people worldwide cannot swim, and women account for most of them: 2 out of 3 women cannot swim (source)
- Drowning is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 1-24 years (source)
- Parents who can swim are more likely to ensure their children know how to swim (source)
- Swimming is a low impact, low cost exercise that can be enjoyed at any age by everyone (source)
- Swimming is medicine and has been linked to lowering stress, anxiety and depression (source)
- Swimming is social. Whether training in teams or enjoying the water recreationally, swimming brings people together (source)
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