The Presidents Paddle – Big Splash Challenge
Paul Dancey on 28/04/2012
Starting on the 27th April, following in the footsteps of David Walliams and Frank Skinner the President of Swim Wales, Norma Rowles, will attempt her own swimming challenge by completing four lengths in every North Wales swimming pool as part of the Big Splash Weekend (27th – 29th April).
Norma is the President of the sport’s National Governing Body Swim Wales and is a popular figure who commentates and announces at both Regional and National events and even sings the National Anthem! However, despite her exceptional voluntary service to her sport Norma considers herself to be a very weak swimmer and is scared of water.
To prove that these factors don’t have to stand in the way of anyone wanting to benefit from taking a regular dip, Norma put her money where her mouth is and took the opportunity to raise funds for two worthy causes in the process; Help the Heroes and a travel fund to support talented swimmers in North Wales.
Ahead of her challenge Norma, 65, said: "I have butterflies but can't wait to get going! I've done quite a lot of swimming in the last week and hope that others who are nervous will feel inspired to 'have a go'.
"When I started I panicked as the water touched my feet but I'm feeling better about it now - just don't splash me!"
Norma is aiming to swim in every pool that is home to a Swim Wales club, which is 21 in total over three days. The route starts in Amlwch on Friday morning, taking in six pools in the North West. Saturday sees the challenge resume at 9am at the North Wales Regional pool, Llandudno, and finishes seven pools later in Buckley. Whilst her final gruelling stint on Sunday starts in the south of the region, in Newtown, and covers six more pools before a final flourish at Norma's 'home' pool of Denbigh at around 6pm.
Swim Wales Chief Executive, Robert James, said: "It's typical of Norma to be setting the pace in the pool for a number of good causes like this. Swimming is an activity for everyone, whether they are young or old, a novice or more experienced and Norma is certainly taking that message to our North Wales pools. We’re all wishing her the very best for her challenge."
Mark Arnold, Chief Operating Officer for Swim Wales, added: "What Norma is doing is an inspiration to us all. As a person who is afraid of water, to take on a challenge like this for charity, is great. Norma is raising the profile of swimming in Wales, showing others that are scared of water, what can be achieved and raising money for a good cause."
Sport Wales Regional Manager, Graham Williams, added: "Swimming is a fundamental life skill that every child in Wales should have. It is a great form of exercise and the ideal sport to help us get every child hooked on sport for life. We want to see thriving clubs in Wales and our swimming clubs in North Wales are excellent hubs for community sport, that are encouraging many people, young and old, regardless of their ability or background, to get active.
"Not only are Norma’s exceptional efforts raising money for some excellent causes, she is raising the profile of swimming in the region and will no doubt inspire countless more people, across these communities, to take up swimming for a lifetime of enjoyment."
Find out more about Norma and how she’s prepared herself for the weekend ahead by visiting her blog: thepresidentspaddle.wordpress.com.
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