One hundred swimmers are lined up for a world record attempt at Ponds Forge to raise money for leukaemia research in an event organised by a Sheffield-based swimmer whose mother has the cancer.
Lewis Coleman, aged 21, a member of the GB World Class Development Squad, who lives in Hillsborough, has been inspired by his mum, Margaret, who has had bone marrow transplant.
“Mum is great in the face of her challenge,” he said. “I have seen go through some unbelievable things, which she has dealt with with such courage.”
Ponds Forge, where Lewis trains ten times a week, will be the setting for 100 swimmers each covering 100 metres on February 1.
Lewis’s brother, Oliver, aged ten, will start the relay and Lewis, will end it, aiming to break the record of one hour 37 minutes 53 seconds.
Those taking part include past and present GB international swimmers and Lewis’s colleagues in the City of Sheffield Swim Squad.
“It has been a big challenge in terms of organisation, but there are some great people who have helped me.” In particular, Lewis thanks swimwear company Speedo for its support.
Margaret Coleman, who lives in Bury, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in June 2012. “It came as a real shock to our family and friends as my mum has always led a very active and healthy life,” said Lewis.
When chemotherapy proved ineffective, she took part in a clinical trial for new drug, Blinatumomab, which prepared her for a bone marrow transplant. This week she was awaiting the latest test results.
“Day to day she’s OK, but she gets very tired doing general tasks. But she is very positive and has been throughout.”
Lewis, who hopes to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer and the Olympics in Rio in 2016, has set a target of £100,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
“With swimming being such a big part of my life, and my family’s life, and with my mum having a massive part to play in myself getting to the position that I am in today in the sport, I thought it would be fitting if the event I organised was related to swimming.
“I have always had big dreams and have always loved a challenge and with this I was no different, therefore I decided that I would like to break a Guinness World Record.”
Joining him at Ponds Forge will be the likes of Fran Halsall, Michael Jamieson, Rebecca Adlington, Andrew Willis, Sophie Allen and Caitlin McClatchey.