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Raising funds and building awareness

Interest in the Central ITM Big Swim 10^6 fundraising initiative is “really starting to gain momentum now”, and with it, greater awareness that Carterton has the only indoor pool in South Wairarapa on its doorstep.

“What we found doing the promotion is that people didn’t realise there was an indoor pool they could use in Carterton,” Catherine Rossiter-Stead, one of the fundraiser’s organisers said. “An all-weather, all-year-round pool in Carterton and many people don’t know it exists and they can use it.”

For Rossiter-Stead, it’s a win-win situation.

“Despite the fact we are trying to raise a million dollars, despite the fact we are trying for this audacious goal of a million metres, if we can let people know there is a facility they can use year-round and encourage them: it’s got to be a good thing.”

Built in 1987, the pool now needs an “urgent upgrade”.

“It’s a little tatty, a little rusty, but the water is fabulous,” Rossiter-Stead, a keen swimmer, said. “There is nothing wrong with the water, and it’s a nice temperature.

“But people will be more inclined to use it if there were better changing rooms and better toilet facilities, and it didn’t look like it was rusting to death.

“And we have to learn to swim,” she said. “It’s not about just learning to swim to compete, it’s about learning to swim to save your life and to stay fit and mobile.”

The “big, audacious goal” at the heart of the Central ITM Big Swim challenge is to complete a total of a million metres during March. “Hence the name The Big Swim 10^6 [10 to the power 6 = 1,000,000m],” Rossiter-Stead explained.

People are invited to swim as individuals or as a team, and with a couple of weeks before the challenge begins, the Givealittle crowdfunding page shows $2575 raised so far.

Participants can do as many or as few metres as they like, and Rossiter-Stead is enjoying the stories emerging from those who have signed up to swim.

One young man’s audacious goal is to swim one length – 25m – as part of his “big ambition to join the Masters swimming club in Masterton”.

Another participant is using the challenge to “get back into swimming. The fact that she can swim all through March and see how many metres she can swim in that month is a way of keeping her focused and honest and swimming every day.”

Family groups are also taking up the call to fundraise for the pool, Rossiter-Stead said.

“We’ve got a family of four generations, they’re swimming and doing it as a relay. There’s a lady in that family who is in her 80s and she’s walking her part of it.”

People can participate in the challenge at any pool, but some have chosen to swim in Carterton because of their connection with the facility.

“We have an ex-swimmer, a brilliant swimmer, who has signed up and she said, ‘I just have to do this, because this is where I learned to swim’.”

For Rossiter-Stead and the team of volunteers behind the Big Swim saving the pool is a ‘no brainer’.

“We all feel very passionate about saving this asset. Without a doubt, we don’t want to lose this asset, so you’ll do anything and everything to make that happen.”

To sign up visit www.givealittle.co.nz/event/the-big-swim-nz

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