The chairman of the YMCA's board of directors swam 70 lengths of the pool early Wednesday to raise money for the Strong Kids Campaign on his 70th birthday.
AMHERST – Dale Fawthrop has done something most half his age couldn’t do.
The Amherst man and chairman of the Cumberland YMCA’s board of directors swam 70 lengths of the YMCA pool on his 70th birthday early Wednesday to raise awareness and funds for the Strong Kids Campaign.
“It was an exciting morning. I’m so happy to be able to see this through to a successful conclusion,” said Fawthrop, who swam with his 13-year-old granddaughter and competitive swimmer, Daphne. “I set this as a personal goal, to swim 70 lenghts of the pool on my 70th birthday, but turned it into something else that would benefit others.”
Upon exiting the pool, Fawthrop and his supporters celebrated with birthday cake.
He also raised approximately $600 for the Strong Kids Campaign.
“I felt pretty good out there. It’s not something I’m ready to do again today or tomorrow, but I enjoyed it. I hope it sparks someone else to do something like this for the community or for another important program,” he said.
Fawthrop announced back in April that he would swim 70 lengths of the pool on Wednesday to celebrate his 70th birthday. An avid swimmer, Fawthrop spent seveal weeks in the pool working on his stamina, and besides one short break, he was able to complete the task in about an hour.
His granddaughter, on the other hand, only took half the time.
“As I got closer I increased how much I was swimming to the point I got close to 69 lenghts. I didn’t want to do 70, I wanted to save it for today,” said Fawthrop, adding it was special to be able to do it with his granddaughter.
“She’s a little quicker than I am, but it was great having her here with me today. This is something she will remember.”
Fawthrop is not sure if he’ll do 71 lengths next year to celebrate 71 years and laughed when it was suggested he should now aim to do 80 lengths in 10 years.
A member of the Cumberland Spartans Swim Club, Daphne said she was impressed by her grandfather’s feat.
“When he told me what he was doing, I didn’t know he would be able to do it, but he did great,” she said. “It was fun.”
Approximately 10 per cent of the Cumberland YMCA’s membership is subsidized through the Strong Kids Campaign, which is aiming to raise $100,000 to support sponsored memberships.