Why I Swim: The Manly Aquaducks
We’re so excited for Splash the Stigma!
We caught up with the wonderful Kate, who is swimming in Splash the Stigma this year, with her team The Manly Aquaducks to find out why she is swimming and why she wants to support youth mental health.
Why did you want to sign up to Splash the Stigma?
Mental ill-health can affect anyone, we are aware that youth suicide statistics are on the rise and predicted to get worse as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on the world.
We want to help smash the stigma surrounding mental ill-health and help provide an open platform for honest conversations and an avenue to seek help. Everyone in the Manly Aquaducks has suffered from, or knows someone who has suffered from, mental ill-health and in some circumstances, someone who has taken their life.
We all feel strongly that we need to help our younger generations find their voice to ask for help, without any shame or stigma.
‘Splash The Stigma’ is a fun way in which to raise awareness for mental ill-health and to raise charitable funds for programs that reflect our beliefs and empower our younger generations to seek help and support. By committing to swim a marathon, it pushes each of the Manly Aquaducks out of our comfort zones, but at the same time, feel supported by all members of a team.
What will the event look like for you and your team?
The Manly Aquaducks are swimming a marathon (42 kms)! As a team, we all have varying swimming abilities; some can only swim a few lengths, others can swim a few kilometers. We will be working as a team and adding up all of our meters to hit our target of a marathon in four (4) hours. On Saturday 20 February 2021, the team will all be meeting at Freshwater Rockpool (50m outdoor sea pool). Over the course of 4 hours, each member of the team will be swimming as many lengths as they can (with multiple swimmers in the water at the same time) in a bid to smash our marathon.
The Manly Aquaducks is a team made up of 15 to 20 adults predominantly from the Northern Beaches (but we do have a few from outside the bubble!). The team is made up of family, friends and friends of friends.
How does swimming/physical exercise help you manage your mental health?
I generally swim twice a week but rarely for longer than 30 minutes (although this is having to change as we train for our marathon!). It provides a rare opportunity to silence my mind. For those 30 minutes I find I have to concentrate on breathing, stroke and counting laps and I find that it provides little space for any other thoughts to creep in. I find that having that time to concentrate on breathing and having a mind free from crowded thoughts relaxes me and helps me think clearer once I am out of the water.
It also provides a personal challenge – wanting to swim further or faster or improve on stroke. It feels good when you can look back and see your personal progress.
As with other physical exercises, it just generally leaves me feeling better and more positive once I have completed a training session.
Why is it important for you to raise funds for youth mental health?
Our younger generation shouldn’t have to live in a world where there is still stigma or shame attached to mental ill-health and they shouldn’t have to suffer in silence like our own generation. With youth suicide statistics on the rise, we have a responsibility to proactively provide a platform for them to find their voice and to ask for help or to ask their friends and family if they are OK. We owe them a better future.
Join Kate and the Auquaducks to help make a difference in the lives of young people. Sign up to Splash the Stigma here.