City of Sheffield swimmer Lewis Coleman, 22, writes exclusively for AquaZone
Hi! I’m Lewis Coleman from City of Sheffield Swimming Club and am currently on British Swimming’s Podium Potential athlete programme. I wanted to tell you all about an event I organised on the the 1st of February this year, with me and another 99 swimmers aiming to break the 100x100m Swimming Relay Guinness World Record at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. Our target to beat was 1 hour 37 minutes 53 seconds, which was set on 29th October 2011 in Queensland, Australia!
Although attempting a Guinness World Record is a great thing to do, and lots of fun was had, we were swimming in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, which is really important to me. In June 2012 my Mum was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, which is a rare type of cancer but affects approximately 400 adults per year in the UK. Without Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research’s fantastic work my mum may not be with us today. Part of Mum’s ongoing recovery was a drug trial and I found out that only 6 per cent of cancer sufferers take part in drug trials. This made me want to raise as much money as possible so others can get another chance like my mum has. Swimming has always been a huge part of my life and as I’m sure you can all understand, without my mum’s support there is no question I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I thought it would make sense if the event I organised, in aid of the charity to help support their work, was related to swimming.
I got a fantastic response for the 'Swim4Leukaemia' challenge with some of Great Britain’s finest swimmers signing up including a host of Olympic, Commonwealth, European and world medallists. These included Michael Jamieson, Hannah Miley, Fran Halsall, Mark Foster and Rebecca Adlington, who joined lots of club swimmers as part of the team.
So after all the preparations, the day finally came. Tickets had sold well (for watching the record attempt as well as for the Swim Clinic we had running, which was led by Olympic coach Russ Barber) and the place was buzzing.
Me, Oliver, Mum and Dad
My 10-year-old brother, Oliver, led the team. He showed no nerves, waving to the crowd before diving off the blocks, and he finished nearly 4 seconds inside his target of 1min 25sec! Having watched and cheered on all the other swimmers, it was finally my turn - to finish the relay.
It was a fast and furious afternoon and I’m really excited to tell you that we did it! We not only smashed the previous record, setting a new one of 1 hour 29 minutes and 3 seconds, but managed to raise nearly £30,000 (at the last count) for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research!
I was so overwhelmed by the whole experience and at the end I took my brother Oliver in my arms and we had a massive hug – we’d done it!