Why Swim For Change?  Why swimming?

Christopher is an experienced long-distance swimmer and has been swimming since he was about

3 ½ years old.  So swimming is a part of who he is and he believes that there is no way that he can exclude it from being a part of what drives the way in which he can contribute to society. 

Swim For Change 12-Hour Swimathon

Since 2017

The 12-Hour Swimathon is an event based on the analogy that mental illness is something that is a constant struggle for many people and can't be paused just because it’s wearing you down.

Keeping a swim going for 12 hours is also a struggle but can be achieved by asking for help from others.

Reaching OUT and reaching IN is fundamental in achieving a positive outcome. And this is part of the message that we try to get across with this event.

Keen to host a 12-Hour Swimathon at your school?

How does it work?

  • Participants purchase a ticket to swim as many lengths as they wish to contribute to achieving an uninterrupted 12-hour swim.

  • Participants can join in the swim at any time during the 12 hours.

  • Participants DO NOT have to swim for a full 12 hours - SWIM FOR CHANGE will ensure that at least one swimmer is covering the laps for the full 12 hours.

  • Participants are encouraged to log their laps on log sheets provided so that we can record the accumulative mileage covered for the duration of the 12 hours.

  • Floaters, swimming aids and lilos may be used.

  • Fins and training equipment is allowed.

  • Swim at your own speed and swim any stroke, as long as you're moving forward.


What do we provide?


If you would like to host a 12-Hour Swimathon at your school to promote Mental Health Awareness and Education, SWIM FOR CHANGE will help you make it happen by doing the following:


  • Promote the event on various social media platforms, printed media (flyers and community newspapers) and radio stations where possible.  Schools outside of Cape Town may need to promote the event within their area through their network.

  • Arrange ticket sales platform using online ticketing as well as in-house ticket sales and ticket sales at the gate on the day.  Schools are expected to promote ticket sales.

  • Provide posters relative to mental health awareness to display at your school.

  • Ensure that the 12-Hour Swimathon is successfully achieved by providing at least one experienced endurance swimmers to cover the laps as required.

  • Start and end the event.

  • Provide an MC for a Cape Town-based event. (Details can be tailored to the school's requirements, where possible).  

  • Qualified First Aider on the premises with a medical kit.  School First Aiders are encouraged to volunteer their service for practical experience.

  • SOP for advanced medical assistance.

  • Disseminate Mental Health Awareness information on the day by various means such as information pamphlets and via the MC.

  • Arrange for a professional to deliver a talk to your school during an agreed school day about a Mental Health Topic. (At no cost to the school.)

  • We give you Bragging Rights and a spot on our website to showcase how your school took meaningful action towards ending the silence around mental health and invested in making a change in the life of those struggling with mental illness.



What do we need from you?


As much as SWIM FOR CHANGE does everything possible to manage this event in its entirety, we still need your help.


This is what we'll need from you:


  • The venue:  

    • A well maintained 20/25/50m swimming pool with at least two lane ropes in place.

    • Safety equipment:  At least 1 x fire extinguisher

    • Powerpoints 

    • Catering

      • Tuck shops and food trucks are great for catering.  Participants need access to nutrition and beverages for the full 12 hours. Details can be discussed as required.

  • Sound equipment

    • Swimming can be lonely!  The school must be able to provide sound equipment for music and for the MC.  Playlists can be mutually provided and agreed upon so that the 12 hours are fun for all.  Details can be discussed as required.

  • Marketing

    • Although SWIM FOR CHANGE will promote the event as much as possible, your school must strongly encourage participation by all learners, in advance. The objective is to reach as many young people as possible to create greater awareness.

    • Challenging sports teams to compete against each other and challenging other schools to participate is a great way to encourage participation.

  • Ticket Sales

    • Although SWIM FOR CHANGE will setup the online ticketing platform, the school is expected to promote ticket sales.

  • Litter and recycling

    • Your school must provide bins in the pool area for general litter and recycling.

  • Shelter

    • If the school does not have a sheltered area or cannot provide shelter such as gazebos, for example, participants and supporters should be allowed to bring their own shelter if they plan on staying at the event for an extended period.  The best solution can be discussed.

  • Access control

    • To ensure that participants have a valid ticket, access to the pool area must be limited to one area.

    • The school must provide volunteers to manage entrance gate and gate ticket sales.  

  • Volunteers

    • There are a number of tasks that volunteers can help with on the day.  Volunteering is also a great way to get some service hours in.​



Ticket Sales


SWIM FOR CHANGE charges R50 per participant/ supporter to join the event.  Children under 6 years are allowed free entrance.


SWIM FOR CHANGE uses these funds to pay for various Mental Health Awareness and Education activities. These activities may include but are not limited to, workshops, talks and youth programs. 


Tickets are sold on platforms such as Computicket or Quicket as well as at the gate on the day of the event or in-house (through the school).


 Why care enough to host an event?

Globally, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents and suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in 15-19-year olds.

Mental health impacts on issues such as alcohol and substance misuse, abuse and gender-based violence, discrimination, marginalization, employment, homelessness, to mention but a few.

Failure to address mental health affects societies as a whole and children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable. 

If we increase our efforts to bring a collective spotlight on mental health, in all its forms and its consequences, we WILL make a difference in someone's life.  If we don’t, we will fail many, many people who will just continue to suffer from their mental health condition or even choose suicide as a solution because they see no other choice.  We simply cannot allow this.

14 March 2020