The First Swimathon in Kampong Cham
The First “Swimathon” in Kampong Cham, the third largest province in Cambodia, took place at 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 to construct a new building of four classrooms for Ken Chrey Knong Primary
A swimathon is a swimming event for raising money 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 was to raise funds to construct a new building of four classrooms for an overcrowded primary school, Ken Chrey Knong Primary School. The new classrooms would allow for increased space and a better learning environment for the students.
Twenty-eight participants showed up on a sunny afternoon. AJ Lee, 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 swam fearlessly. Two
boys from Peace Home who learned to swim with AJ did a brilliant job finishing 22 and 23 lengths within an hour.
At 5:30 pm, seventeen courageously jumped into the pool, including Bora Phan, the founder of PFDO, two
French priests from the local Catholic Church, four young French volunteers, a young teacher from Hong Kong,
and six other local Cambodians. Most had never participated in such a swimming event, but each tried their best
and swam as much as possible. They all finished with their personal best records.
The event ended with a sense of accomplishment for the swimmers, the volunteers, and the organizers. Happy faces beamed when swimmers each received a ‘Swimathon Certificate’ as a token of their remarkable support for the 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 also put on a good show and completed an impressive
distance, especially for the two boys I taught. It looks like my two days of coaching paid off! I want to thank
you all very much for your support of this operation and your gracious donations. The children in
overcrowded schools will be extremely excited about more room. Because of your donations, you have
improved the conditions in 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! 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 swam 23 laps within one hour.
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 try my best.”
“I swim 22 lengths within one hour continuously. I felt a little hard but didn’t want to give up. I was very
happy. I learned to swim 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 more.”