A CHARITY event which was delayed as a result of the winter floods saw people from all over Winchester diving in head first to raise some serious cash.

Sixteen teams gathered for this year’s Winchester Rotary swimathon, taking to the water like Ian Thorpe or Rebecca Adlington, at Winchester College sports club on Saturday (April 12).

The event, which was due to be held in February earlier this year, was pushed back after the floods submerged the pool in Kingsgate Street.

Lesley Loughridge, swimathon committee chairwoman, said: “We have been doing this for about five to six years now and it’s to get people swimming for whatever charities they wish.”

This year people have been swimming for such projects as the Wessex Centre and the Rainbow Centre in Fareham. Last year more than 100 people turned out to raise £10,000.

“Normally we would have around 25-28 teams but some people had to pull out because of the change of date,” Lesley added. “Last year we made £10,000 and I think we will probably get near to that this year but it has been a bit hit and miss with the number of people but we’ll aim to raise as much as we can.”

The funds raised will be split half and half between the selected charities and the Winchester Rotary Trust fund.

“This helps us put on more events later on in the year,” Lesley said. “It gives people a reason to get fit and it’s a good way for us to show this is how we can help the community. We’re also very keen to thank Winchester College for all their help.”

Steve Leach, vice chairman, said: “The best time we’ve seen has been the team from Peter Symonds College. One teacher and five female students swam 445 lengths in 55 minutes. I think they were trying to show up the boys!”