The Hathersage Adventures, Swimathon 2015

A cold, dark and glum morning in London turned into an incredible sunset over the rolling hills in the Peak District with Olympic gold medallist, Duncan Goodhew. So why did a find myself 174 miles from home in the picturesque village of Hathersage? #Swimathon15! Swimathon is a nationwide swimming event that takes place at over 600 pools in the UK and it’s this nationwide feeling that we wanted to create for my first full solo PR event with Limelight Sports.

Hathersage Swimming Pool opened its doors for Swimathon two days before the onset of its 79th outdoor swimming season. I was surprised to find a village with a population of around 2000 with a large public swimming pool and secondly with such a passion for swimming in general.

The day itself was divided into three parts, regional press coverage, a Q&A session with additional needs students from the local college and a 1–2–1 exclusive training session for five lucky Swimathon competition winners. A jam packed day, but all good PR days are!

With every new adventure there is always something to take with you for your next challenge/event. Flexibility and the ability to think ahead and react to situations was an integral part of the day and something I will take with me for future PR days. With Duncan in tow there was certainly more emphasis on both aspects. There seemed to be a non-stop flow of fans wanting to say hello and have their photo taken with one of Britain’s national heroes.

As well as a learning from each new adventure there is always a highlight of working in the sports industry. On this occasion it came from an unexpected source. I was touched by meeting an S14 class swimmer who had an aim to inspire her school friends through swimming. She had signed herself and her friends up to take on the 1.5k challenge as a team. For herself this was not a challenge as an international level Paralympic swimmer but for her friends it was. Always ask questions and speak to those around you to get the most out of your day, as for me this is how the best stories are made.

At the end of a fantastic day with fond memories, myself and Duncan concluded that Swimathon’s event weekend plans must be altered to include a diversion via Hathersage Swimming Pool. What an incredible day seeing a community inspired! I hope all future PR days can be in such a beautiful setting (unlikely) … you know where to find me in 40 years’ time relaxing in my retirement!

Jonny Whittall /// Assistant Project Manager

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