"I don’t know what I would do without it! It’s been my saving grace without any doubt at all." Lucy
It’s the first big event that I’ve taken part in since I was diagnosed with diabetes, and so it was really important to me. I’m both absolutely thrilled and in a huge amount of disbelief that I’ve managed to do it!
Swim22 is a hell of a personal goal to achieve, and it’s something that nobody can take away from you. When you’re living with diabetes, and you’re faced with all the check-ups and the treatments and things going wrong - it can feel quite miserable. But when you think that you’ve completed the challenge, it makes you want to put yourself on a pedestal - and you should. Because what you’ve done is say, ok - I’ve got diabetes, but I’ve overcome it and I’m doing something really positive - contributing to a fantastic charity and hopefully changing lives as a result.
"And now that I’m heading to the pool regularly, my blood glucose (sugar) levels are much more stable and I’m feeling much fitter." Annie
My advice to anyone taking on Swim22 is to just enjoy it! I’ve found that people can put too much pressure on themselves, worrying that they’re not fast or can’t swim that far. But the hard bit is getting those first lengths out of the way. Once you’ve done that, it builds up and you’ll surprise yourself. So don’t push yourself, everyone does it at their own pace.
If you’ve managed to raise £10, that’s still £10 towards fighting diabetes. And if one thousand people have £10, then together that’s an incredible amount. You’re not on your own when you take part in Swim22.
I think a lot of people can sometimes feel quite embarrassed about going to the swimming pool, especially if they aren’t happy with their weight or how they look. But I think it’s important for everyone to remember that most of the time, people don’t care! They’re too busy thinking about their swim, or what they look like!
"Swim22 gave me time for me," Jackie
That was one of the biggest things that Swim22 gave me was time for me. I wasn't mum, wife, or nan I was just me. I could just go into the pool and zone out and swim.
I hadn't done any exercise for a long time because of the arthritis. I also wanted to lose some weight but I thought because I'm diabetic I wanted to get my diabetes under control to a point where I didn't have to take medication.
I felt a massive sense of achievement swimming 22 miles. It definitely changed my life, and it can change other people's. If you think you can't do it, you'll be surprised how much you can do. Break it down into little pieces.
"I’ve always had a love of water and a healthy respect for it, so I’m just excited to get going," Kirsten
I’m really excited to get back into the pool; I really miss it. I’ve always had a love of water and a healthy respect for it, so I’m just excited to get going. I’m a bit out of practice at the moment, so I’m not sure how far I’ll be able to swim when I’m allowed back in the pool - but I’m feeling ready to build up my strength and take on the challenge
To anyone who is thinking about signing up I would always say go for it! It’s something you can do at your own pace. Even if you’re not a confident swimmer, you can do as much as you can when you can. You really can make it your own. The Facebook group is also really supportive of everybody, and the actual challenge itself is so rewarding.
"Swim22 helped with my rehabilitation so much," Amanda
I took on 11 miles last year with my sister in law. She wanted to find a challenge to help her lose weight and she came across Swim22. She asked if I wanted to take part as I have a connection with diabetes. Having my transplants the year before I need to do some rehabilitation and not being able to use the gym because I couldn’t lift weights made it seemed like a perfect challenge. I also like swimming!
Swimming is a great way to relax and to go into your own little world and forget about everything for an hour.
It was great to have Cheryl as we were able to support each other as it is hard to do such a big challenge on your own. If one of us was feeling like we couldn’t be bothered the other one would spur us on, and you felt great when you were there.
"Swimming puts the biggest smile on my face," Bernadette
These days I swim outdoors in open water. Swimming makes me feel part of nature, I feel free, it makes me forget about my size. The cold water makes me glow from the inside, it puts the biggest smile on my face. The water feels like silk and the cold warms my heart.
"'When I'm swimming, I can't feel my joint pain so it's just me enjoying being in the water and getting fit!" Alison
Swimming makes me feel refreshed, invigorated and ready to go on with my day. It's a chance for a release from tension and stress for me. When I'm swimming, I can't feel my joint pain so it's just me enjoying being in the water and getting fit!
"Swim22 helped me with my confidence", Louise
I've had type 1 for 29 years and wanted to give back to Diabetes UK. Loved the platform as you can see exactly how much more I need to swim to complete my challenge. I also loved the virtual badges - I'm like a big kid when it comes to things like this.
Swim22 helped me with my confidence - and helped me talk about my diabetes.