12 year old Jamie Els to swim 110 km in 10 days to raise funds for SA para swimmers

Jamie Els, 12, has set out to raise R50 000 for South African Para Swimming NPC. Picture: Supplied

Jamie Els, 12, has set out to raise R50 000 for South African Para Swimming NPC. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 25, 2024


Cape Town - An aspiring Olympic athlete from the Southern Suburbs has set her sights on swimming 110km in 10 days to raise funds for South African para swimmers.

Jamie Els, 12, said she has challenged herself to complete the distance in support of differently abled athletes.

“I have realised that differently-abled swimmers can have higher essential lifestyle costs, which could stop them from following their dream of competing in swimming or the Olympics,” she said.

According to the Bergvliet Primary School, Grade 6 learner, everyone, despite their disability, should be treated equally.

“I want everyone to have the same opportunity to enjoy and compete in swimming,” Jamie said.

She is a competitive swimmer and is ranked third and seventh in the 800m and 400m freestyle, respectively, in SA in her age group.

Jamie began the challenge on June 19 and has completed 60.5km of the swim in the 25m heated outdoor pool at her club, Aqua Dolphin Swimming Club.

She intends to complete the challenge by Friday, and through a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, has already raised R4 500 of her R50 000 target. All funds raised will go directly to South African Para Swimming NPC.

Her mother, Michelle Els, said she was extremely proud of her daughter for initiating and spearheading the fund-raising. “This is the furthest distance that she has swum in this period, so as a 12-year-old, she is pushing herself outside her comfort zone,” she said.

Shrone Austin, Jamie’s coach at the Aqua Dolphin Swimming Club, said that her initiative also creates an awareness of the hard work para athletes put in to make it to competitions.

Jamie also intends to achieve her goal one day of competing in the Olympics, but for now she’s fully focused on raising the necessary funds.

Donations towards the campaign can be made at www.backabuddy.co.za/campaign/ south-africa-para-swimming

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Cape Argus