It may seem unlikely that a Channel swim can take place anywhere other than between England and France, but that is exactly what happened when students in South Korea got together to stage a fundraiser for SwimTayka.
American high school junior Leyna Biggs, aged 16, who goes to school in Seoul where she lives with her parents, masterminded the event, which took place in the pool where she’s a club swimmer.
She and fellow students split into relay teams, and competed against each other to see who could be fastest to swim 33km – the equivalent distance between England and France, across the Channel.
They were sponsored for their efforts and managed to raise nearly £500 for SwimTayka. We are very grateful for the funds, which will go towards running our swimming programmes around the world.
So how did Leyna hear about SwimTayka?
“I had volunteered at a mobile health clinic in Peru, and when I was there I really fell in love with Peru and Peruvian culture. Also, I have been a competitive swimmer for a long time and so after my summer in Peru I was looking for something that would combine my interests.
“I did some internet research and came across SwimTayka and of course they run a swimming programme in Peru. I’m not sure I am old enough to volunteer there yet, but I would love to do this one year. It would be a great experience to continue on from what I have already done.”
Leyna wanted to look at a creative way to fundraise and spotted the Channel relay swims we run. She couldn’t bring the kids to England, so she brought England to Seoul instead!
“Our competitive swim season had just ended, so this was a great finale for the kids. We had a mix of people from the school swim team and some who are regular students.”
Leyna hopes one day to take part in an actual Channel relay swim. “We don’t have a culture of open water swimming here, but I’d love to test my swimming skills. I’m applying for university for next fall to study pre-med or global health, and if I happen to find myself in the UK I may get a chance.”
We’re so impressed with Leyna’s efforts and a big thank you to her and her fellow students.
If you’re interested in getting involved in a Channel relay swim or any of our events, you can find out more here.