Inaugural Southampton International Boat Show Swim a great success

Raising money for local charity the Rose Road Association

Some 80 swimmers from across the region braved the morning chill (Sunday 18 September) to take part in the inaugural Southampton International Boat Show open water swimming event, hosted by Rees Leisure, raising money for local charity the Rose Road Association.

Launching from one end of the Southampton International Boat Show, the swimmers embarked on a 1.25km swim around the show past tall ships, sailing yachts and motor cruisers. Some swimmers enjoyed it so much they even got back in to do another lap!

Before the swim brothers Chris and Dave Paterson said:

“We love cold water swimming and Rose Road is an amazing local charity so decided we wanted to take part. We swim the Dart 10K and Thames Swim Marathon every year, but having something local, for a great charity was something we really wanted to do.”

With the water temperature at around 18-19oC the swimmers took to the water in the glorious sunshine and headed around the show. The first swimmer to emerge from the water was Ashley Hogg,

“It was lovely, such an amazing setting and it was much warmer in the water than outside. There was a little current, but luckily it was heading in the right direction.”

While Chris and Dave added at the end of their swim:

“That was quite warm. It was fantastic swimming past the amazing tall ship Morgenster. The water was incredibly clean, there was such a relaxed atmosphere and lots of space, we would definitely do it again.”

Also taking part was Mike Harris, Chief Executive of Southampton City Council who commented:

“That was great fun, it couldn’t have been better. The sun was out, the water was a lovely temperature, perfect for sea swimming. It was a great opportunity to swim in a piece of water that you usually can’t swim in, I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Hosted by Rees Leisure, Director, Chris Rees commented:

“This is our first ever swimming event here at the Southampton International Boat Show and it has been a massive success. This year we’ve literally put a toe in the water to test it and everyone has thoroughly enjoyed it. We’d like to give a massive thanks to British Marine and the Southampton International Boat Show and ABP for their help both on the pontoons and on the water and we look forward to hopefully welcoming everyone back next year for an even bigger and better event.”

The whole event was in aid of raising money for local charity the Rose Road Association. CEO, Steve Swift commented: “It’s our 70th anniversary this year and what better way to celebrate than with the inaugural Southampton International Boat Show swim. We are incredibly grateful to be the chosen charity for the event, it’s a real privilege.

“We’ve raised over £5,000 which allows us to provide invaluable support to those families who need it most. We really hope to make this an annual event and put Southampton on the map for open water swimming.”

Lesley Robinson, CEO, Southampton International Boat Show added:

“This event is a great addition to the show lineup and has provided swimmers with a completely unique experience to swim in a body of water normally inaccessible due to boat movements. We have also provided all the swimmers with a free ticket to the show, so they can enjoy a well-earned day out and all the show has to offer after all their efforts in the water.”

The Rose Road Association provides direct care services for over 340 children and young adults with severe physical disabilities, profound and multiple learning difficulties and complex health needs from across Hampshire and the surrounding counties. They also provide information advice and support services to around 1000 families per year split across neighbouring counties.

Established in 1952 by a group of parents who wanted more for their disabled children than was on offer at the time, Rose Road has since grown and now offers overnight short breaks, a community outreach service providing one-to-one support, a day service with an educational element, as well as after school and holiday activity schemes, Saturday clubs and advice and support to families.

The open water swimming event is just one of the many great activities taking place at the Southampton International Boat Show. With hundreds of exhibitors, a packed schedule of insightful and interesting talks and a whole of opportunities to get out on the water from paddleboarding to kayaking, RIB rides to trips on historic craft, it’s a great day out for all the family.