Thomas Wooley

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late February this year, there have been numerous inspired responses from within the Cambridge community, mainly taking place in the form of fundraisers. Cambridge University Swimming and Water Polo Club, for instance, have set about hosting charity events over the year to help to raise as much money as possible.

In the most recent event, current and past members from CUSWPC and OUSC put aside their differences and came together in order to raise money for Ukrainian children. On Saturday 14th May 100 swimmers, water polo players, alumni and coaches from both Cambridge and Oxford gathered at Parkside Pool to each complete 100m freestyle in the largest relay ever swam in Cambridge.

Many swimmers and water polo players have been directly impacted by the atrocities in Ukraine, and so the cause means a lot to the club and its members. Outgoing CUSWPC Captain Alfie Collins explained: “at the heart of all this conflict is millions of innocent children whose development and childhood have been impacted by the war, and at CUSWPC we hope to help as best we can.”

The money raised was donated to Save the Children – a charity which focuses on the education and health of children across the world. In Ukraine, their focus is on the distribution of food, clothes, and medicine and providing mental health support and education to children and families. They are also playing a substantial role in assisting refugees arriving in Romania.


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The event itself was led off by the CUSWPC captains Ellie O’Keeffe and Alfie Collins, followed by the OUSC captain, Andrew Hong. Over the following two hours the team swam their hearts out, completing the 10k in 1 hour and 55 minutes. While the fastest split was achieved by Theo Cannon in 52.47, there were also several honourable performances from alumni, including David Skidmore OBE, Leila Goodman, Karen Wiemar, Eve Hull and Joe Anderson. Even Coach Chris managed to roll back the years and drop an impressive split of 1.00.95. Following the relay, participants were welcomed to Hughes Hall for a charitable dinner.

Outgoing captains Collins and O’Keeffe thank all those who participated, donated or helped out with this cause. “With your contribution, the event was a resounding success in managing to raise awareness of the under-represented victims of these horrible events and also in raising over £2.5k!” With over 3.5 million children trapped in Ukraine, CUSWPC and OUSC alike hope that the money raised can assist Save the Children in their work.

Overall the event was a great success, raising £2400 for Save the Children and smashing the goal of £2000. Indeed, the day went so well that CUSWPC have set a target to post a big charity event every year from now on.