Clevedon relay swimmers cover the English Channel distance x4!

Thunderstorms, glow-in-the-dark plankton, eels and night swimming; just some of the features of Clevedon Marine Lake’s epic relay! Over 24-hours, 3 teams totalling 44 swimmers swam 150km (93 miles) and raised £3.4k for charity.

The swimming event for summer 2020

If you went down to the lake between 5pm on Thursday, 13th and 5pm on Friday 14th, you might have seen the 24-hour super-relay swimmers. With all our usual events cancelled this summer because of Covid-19, this was our chance to come together to take part in an event and raise vital funds.

The event was so 2020, with one member of each team swimming an hour-long slot at a time to keep socially distanced. But, while each person swam, the support from the rest of the team online was huge, which brought to together the whole swimming community in a big team effort.

Some swimmers put in an hour-long swim, while others did more, including Becca who swam an incredible 13km over eight hours. “It was such a wonderful 24-hours,” said Becca, who stayed for the whole time. “It really pulled the community together again. And it gave me my confidence back showing me that I can do more than I know.”

Becca wasn’t the only one who got a much-needed boost. “I got in the water with no ambition other than to enjoy an hour in the lake, but I discovered that I could actually swim continuously rather than having to keep stopping,” said Jo, who swam 2.1km in her hour-long slot. “That gave me back some of the confidence I lost over lockdown.”

“I have never swum more than four lengths in a row and yesterday I was doing 10 at a time,” said Leander, who swam four legs. “I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to swim for an hour straight and I did four hours! Feeling very happy.”

Night swimming

For others, it was the experience of swimming in the dark that was extra special. Lit by candles in lanterns, fairy lights and torches inside tow-floats, the lake looked magical. But the swimmers didn’t have the lake to themselves. Many felt eels and fish brushing up against them, and they also saw phosphorescence, tiny, glow-in-the-dark organisms that live in coastal waters.

“I had such a fabulously memorable swim during my midnight to 1am slot on the 24hr relay in the lake,” said Jeremy who swam with his partner, Sue. “It was an odd thing to do I think; swimming in a sea pool with just a couple of others, in the middle of a dark night, deliberately missing sleep, and paying for the privilege. Finished just before the lightning arrived too!”

It was the arrival of thunder ad lightning that hit pause on the relay at 1.15am. But as soon as it was safe, the swim started again to carry on through to dawn.

Helping to save a charity

The 24-hour relay was part of a UK-wide event called Lakes for Level Water. Lakes across the country held challenges and raised money for the charity Level Water. Like many charities, Level Water’s fundraising has been badly affected by the coronavirus crisis, and its future was looking bleak. But, thanks to the efforts of outdoor swimmers, it has raised enough money to teach disabled children vital swimming skills in 25 pools next year.

Over the weekend of August 15th and 16th, swimmers set their own goals to complete. One such pair, Garry and Maria, took part in both events, swimming an astonishing 21km each over the four days.

“We did it; 21km+ over the weekend,” said Garry who first started swimming outdoors in May following the closure of swimming pools. “Six months ago I’d have never thought I’d be here doing this. I’m proud to have achieved the distances we did. I’m proud to be associated with dedicated and driven people at Clevedon Marine Lake who accomplished whatever challenge they set themselves over the weekend. And I feel inspired by the people celebrating their successes, no matter how big or small. We all have our own personal Mount Everest to climb.”

The Clevedon Marine Lake team has raised £3.4k so far. That’s £2700 for Level Water and £680 towards keeping the lake open, clean and accessible for all. “Accessibility is very important to us,” said Joe Norman, Chair of Marlens, the charity that looks after the lake. “We have a level promenade around the lake, sloped access for wheelchairs and broad metal steps with railings for entering and exiting the water. We have recently installed more benches so people can sit to change or to be next to the water. It’s fantastic that Level Water can give children with disabilities the swimming skills that so many of us take for granted. And the funds that the swimmer have raised for Clevedon Marine Lake will help us keep the lake accessible for as many people as possible to enjoy.”

You can still donate. Just click here to find the team’s page and add your donation.

Night swimming with a tow float and lantern

Proud swimmers finish their swim

A tired swimmer finishes the final swim of the 24-hour relay

24-hour super relay and lake challenge!

The challenge is set! This weekend, swimmers will be taking to Clevedon Marine Lake to raise vital funds for Level Water, the charity that teaches children vital swimming skills.
The weekend will see two socially distanced events. The first is a 24-hour relay that begins at 5pm on Thursday 13th August and finishes at 5pm on Friday 14th. During the 24-hour relay, three teams will swim in hour-long slots throughout the day and night.
The second event will involve swimmers completing their own challenges across the weekend of August 15th and 16th. So far, fifteen team members have registered to take part, raising just over £1,000. This event is part of a nation-wide campaign that has, so far, raised £40k for Level Water.
The 24-hour relay
You can still register to take part by clicking here to fill in the registration form, following the link to add your name to the spreadsheet and either donating to Team Clevedon or setting up your own page as part of the team. There will be a gazebo base camp to store your kit (not for shelter due to social distancing) and buoys along the 250m sea wall to use as a swim lane.
  • Night swimmers: please make sure you have lights of your own and someone to keep an eye on you.
  • All swimmers swim at their own risk. You are responsible for ensuring that you maintain social distancing and use hand santiser where needed.
Swim challenge

To take part, you need to register as a team member on the Team Clevedon JustGiving page by clicking here. You can then:

  1. Pick your challenge: it could be a distance or to swim constantly for a length of time
  2. Pick your time and turn up: when you swim is up to you.
  3. The buoys and signs will remain in place, but please remember that the lake is still open to the public.
  4. Recording your swim is up to you, too!
Hats and prizes!
Level Water has put together an impressive array of prizes for those raising funds through both challenges:
Raise over £50
  • A Swim Secure waterproof phone bag
Raise over £100
  • A Swim Secure waterproof phone bag
  • Entry into a prize drawn to win a 2XU Wetsuit

Raise over £200

  • All of the above, plus…
  • An Alpkit Day Tripper Thermos

Top fundraiser per lake

  • A Swim Secure Wild Swim Bag
  • A special edition Level Water beanie

Top 3 fundraisers overall

  • A custom, UK made duffle bag from Alpkit designed to your specification
  • The brand new ‘Haven’ changing robe from Alpkit
  • A 2XU Wetsuit of your choice
  • A Finisterre insulated blanket
  • An Outdoor Swimming Society hammam towel
  • An Alpkit Day Tripper Thermos
Vital funds

Level Water has so far raised a staggering £40k nationally. That’s 15 pools giving life-changing lessons for kids with disabilities for a year. Like many charities, Level Water has been badly affected by the Coronavirus crisis. The vital funding raised by this event gives the charity and the many children who might otherwise not get the chance to learn to swim a bright future.

And 20% of whatever we raise as Team Clevedon will go back to our lake to keep it running for us all.
Please note: the lake will remain open to the public throughout both events. If you’re not taking part, please come and give the swimmers your support! 

August’s lottery winners

This month’s lucky lottery winners are:

1st £140 Rich Haslock
2nd £70  Pete Moseley
3rd £30 Helen Mehta

We are now up to £240 prize money each month and £240 for Marlens. Another four members and the lottery will be raising £3000 per annum for the lake, and bring the monthly prize money up to £250 each month. Make a difference to your bank account and the marine lake by joining in! To join, click here.

Good luck! September’s draw will take place on Saturday, September 5th 2020.