Organised by SAFRA Tampines, Swim For Hope was first introduced in 2011 to provide an opportunity for SAF national servicemen (NSmen) and their families to contribute to charitable causes, while promoting fitness and bonding through swimming. Each year, the event adopts various beneficiaries to help those in need.
SAFRA Swim For Hope 2022 was among a series of six SAFRA Cares charitable events organised this year in commemoration of SAFRA’s 50th anniversary (SAFRA50). Held over two months from 1 September to 30 October 2022, the event was a resounding success.
“We had a record number of over 4,800 participants, many of whom were NSmen and their families, with participants swimming over 33,000km in total for charity,” said Senior Minister of State for Defence and President of SAFRA Mr Zaqy Mohamad, who graced the event finale at SAFRA Tampines on 30 October as the Guest-of-Honour. The Minister presented a cheque of the funds raised to the five beneficiaries.
To provide more opportunities for bonding, a series of new team categories were introduced, enabling participants to form groups of five or more swimmers to clock a cumulative distance of either 50km, 100km or 250km together. This year’s event also saw the participation of more families (parents and their kids). Other swimmers participated in the Individual 1km, 10km, 20km or NS55km categories, with many surpassing their registered swim distances by the end of the event.
“We’ve had wonderful support and appreciate everybody’s participation, especially since it’s SAFRA’s 50th anniversary and NS55,” Mr Mohamad said.
“I’m heartened to be here with all swimmers, NSmen, their families and friends.”
Here are four interesting things to know about SAFRA Swim For Hope 2022.
1. A total of $230,000 was raised for charity
This year’s event raised an impressive $230,000 in all, through registration fees and corporate and individual donations. This amount is substantially more compared to the last three editions – in 2019, the event raised a total of $197,281; in 2020, the amount raised was $170,937; and in 2021, a total of $190,098 was collected for charity.
The top individual fundraiser at Swim For Hope 2022 was Alvin Tan, who raised over $6,000 in the Individual NS55km category. The top team fundraiser was the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) Swim Team, which raised over $6,500 in the Team 250km category.
SAFRA Member Alvin, who is 49 years old and an NSman (Guards unit), shared that this was his very first Swim For Hope.
“My family supported me throughout my journey and donated money to help me achieve my fundraising goal,” said the avid swimmer.
2. The funds will go to the less privileged, including low income families and persons with disabilities
The money raised at SAFRA Swim For Hope 2022 went to these five beneficiaries:
The President’s Challenge: This is a national movement, led by the President to rally Singaporeans to build a caring and cohesive society and that aims to bring people from all walks of life together to help those who are less fortunate.
Rainbow Centre: This charity is committed to enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities and their families, by providing person-centric programmes and services to enable them to achieve their fullest potential.
SAF Care Fund: The Fund provides additional support to SAF servicemen who are severely disabled due to military service, over and above MINDEF’s existing compensation and welfare frameworks.
Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) Development Fund: This fund aims to save lives and build champions by providing grant funding to educate and provide opportunities for children to learn how to swim.
Special Olympics Singapore: Part of a global organisation that serves athletes with intellectual disabilities working with hundreds of thousands of volunteers and coaches each year.
Read about how swimming brings out the best in this Special Olympics athlete.
3. National athletes made waves for charity
Lending their support at Swim For Hope 2022 were national swimmers and siblings, Quah Ting Wen, Quah Zheng Wen and Quah Jing Wen.
Jing Wen, 21, is a multi-medal winner, winning the bronze at the 2015 SEA Games, five gold at the 2017 SEA Games, and five gold and a silver at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games.
Her older sister, Ting Wen, 30, has also represented Singapore in major events, winning four gold and four silver medals at the 2015 SEA Games, and four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the 2017 SEA Games.
Their brother, Zheng Wen, 26, competed in 12 events at the 2015 SEA Games, winning seven golds, four silvers and a bronze. He also broke six Games records.
Other participants included national divers and recent SEA Games silver medalists Avvir Tham, 17, and Max Lee, 15.
Swim For Home 2022 also saw the participation of a host of para-athletes from Special Olympics Singapore.
4. Thousands of Navy men and women swam for it
Our Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) was recognised for being a top supporter of Swim For Hope 2022, with 3,100 personnel from various formations and departments taking part.
According to an RSN Facebook post, the personnel were proud to do their part for charity.
“With the easing of safe management measures, our Navy was able to take part in this year’s Swim For Hope at SAFRA Clubs, and continue our steadfast commitment for the fifth year running,” said ME3 Koh Siew Liang, Coxswain RSS Justice (Deputy Chairman for RSN organising committee), who was part of the committee that liaised and arranged the Navy’s participation in this year’s Swim for Hope.
“It’s an honour to be part of the committee, and it’s a meaningful way for us to give back to the community. I thank the SAFRA coordinators and our RSN Formations for their great support! Bravo Zulu!”
The SAFRA Running Club (SRC) contributed the largest team, comprising 50 participants in the Team 250km category.
Timothy Ng, Chairman of SRC, has participated in Swim For Hope many times in the past. He said that taking part has been a “tradition” for him and other SRC members. While not really swimmers, the group took the opportunity to try something other than running while still keeping fit together.
“It was a challenge because we had a number of runners who weren’t great swimmers. Still, we managed to clock 1,600km in total. It was a great chance for us to raise funds for a worthwhile cause,” he shared.
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