Swimathon fundraiser

#SwimForChange founder Christopher Kleynhans swimming last year.

Pupils, teachers, strangers and friends will come together on Saturday March 9 to raise funds and awareness for mental health.

Founder of Swim For Change, Christopher Kleynhans, 15, a Grade 10 pupil at Wynberg Boys’ High School is inviting people of all fitness levels to join in and swim one lap on a floatie, or kilometres, from 7am to 7pm in the school swimming pool.

Funds raised will go to paying guest speakers to address schools on anxiety and teen suicide (“Raising funds for mental health awareness,” Bulletin March 29, 2018).

They are hoping to beat the 400km of accumulative swimming they achieved in 2017 and 2018.

Christopher has always had a passion for swimming and uses the 12-hour non-stop swim as a symbolic way to show how life can sometimes be a hard slog.

Now in its third year, the event is officially registered as a not for profit company, with Christopher as founder and his friend, Reece Slade, as co-founder.

“We were in Grade 6 when we started. We’re both mentors in the Chaeli Campaign Pay It Forward programme,” said Christopher.

Another first is that they have been nominated for this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize Award. “Being nominated was such an amazing surprise and we’re working hard to achieve our objectives,” he said.

They have also formed a non-profit organisation called Earth Kids Org, which focuses on youth-led environmental issues, greening public space, recycling and reducing single-use plastic.

This year they will hold a second swimathon at Reddam House, Constantia, on Saturday April 13.

“Reddam expressed interest in hosting a swimathon as part of their focus on mental health this year. This is so encouraging because schools are often so quiet about the subject,” said Christopher.

He said food and drinks would be available and there would be fires to keep everyone warm.

Dave Guselli, a presenter from Magic Music Radio, will be the host for the day, and Tyron Venter, a five times world record holder and open-water swimmer, has committed to swimming the entire 12 hours to support the cause.

They have also had support from the Madswimmer.com and The Cape Long Distance Swimming Association. Tickets are R50, children under five enter free, and available on Webtickets. Follow Facebook:
@SwimforchangeZA; Instagram: swimforchange; Twitter: