Shine Children Shine
The First Swimathon in Kampong Cham
The First Swimathon in Kampong Cham, the third largest province in Cambodia, took place in The Techo Sen Swimming Center on July 31st, 2018. It was a fundraising event organized by PFDO of Kampong Cham and Charity Cambodia of Hong Kong.
A swimathon is a swimming event for raising for a meaningful cause. Each person will swim for a set amount of time, and at the end of their time, they will have swum certain lengths and raised a certain amount of money. The goal of this particular Swimathon is to raise funds to construct a new building of four classrooms for an overcrowded primary school, Ken Chrey Knong Primary School. The new classrooms will allow for increased space and a better learning environment for the students.
Twenty-eight participants showed up on a sunny afternoon. An 18-year old student from Hong Kong started the event at 3:30 pm and finished with an impressive count of 5000m. The other thirteen teenagers from Kampong Cham were excited to follow suit. They were all beginner swimmers, but they used all their strength and swam fearlessly. Volunteers who were counting lengths for each swimmer cheered for them. Two boys who just learned how to swim did a brilliant job of finishing 22 and 23 lengths within an hour. At 5:30 pm, seventeen ‘VIP’ swimmers jumped into the pool. They were Bora Phan, the founder/director of PFDO, two French priests from the local Catholic Church, four young French volunteers and a young lady from Hong Kong who visited Kampong Cham for service projects, and six other local Cambodians. Most of them have never participated in a swimathon before, but each tried their best and swam as much as they could. They finished with their personal best records.
The event ended with a sense of accomplishment for the swimmers, the volunteers, and the organizers. Happy faces beaming as each swimmer received the ‘Swimathon Certificate' from Bora. The camera had captured joyful memories that would stay in everyone who participated in this meaningful event.
Some thought from swimmer :
From AJ Lee of Hong Kong
I’ve done it! I’ve successfully swum five thousand meters in a pool with a very unpleasant water temperature in rural Cambodia. The other swimmers that attended put on a good show as well and completed an impressive distance, especially for the two boys that I taught. Looks like my two days of coaching paid off! I’d like to thank you all very much for your support of this operation as well as your gracious donations. The children in the overcrowded schools will be extremely excited for more room. Because of your donations, you have improved the conditions that young children learn. Again, thank you very much for your support.
Comments from two local Cambodian student swimmers :
It was my first time doing this! I swam 23 laps within one hour. It was hard. My hands were painful and I was tired, but I didn’t want to give up in the middle of it.
I was very happy that I could swim so many lengths. I am confident to swim again next time. I only learned to swim two days before the Swimathon. It was difficult, but I wanted to continue to learn.
Through this experience, I learned how to work hard and tried my best.
I swim 22 lengths within one hour continuously. I felt a little hard, but I didn’t want to give up. I was very happy. I learned swimming from an older boy from Hong Kong who was a good swimmer. He said I learned very fast. I wanted to continue to learn to improve and swim way.