Ryan Hann, a 13-year-old competitive swimmer with the Orangeville Otters Swim Club, is getting ready for the second year of his ‘Will Swim for Food’ campaign.
Last summer, Ryan swam 35 km in one week and raised $4005 and 300 lbs of food for the Orangeville Food Bank. He is looking forward to another week of swimming, but this time he will be joined by 11 of his friends. Together, as a group of 12, the swimmers will swim 500 km between August 18th to 24th, hoping to raise $5000 and 500 lbs of food. With the amount of support Ryan received from his swim friends last year, it made sense to form a team. Each swimmer is just as committed as Ryan to helping this essential community-minded organization.
In 2018, Ryan’s original goal was to raise $500 and 100 lbs of food, but with community support, he was able to blow that goal out of the water. The inspiration for Hann’s campaign began from a school project combined with his experience volunteering with the St. Vincent de Paul Christmas Hamper program. “I need a lot of food for my training and it breaks my heart to think about families and kids that go without food. It made me want to do something to for my community so I decided to use my passion for swimming to help out,” said Hann.
Hann also received an incredible amount of support from his teammates. Different swimmers showed up each day to help Hann swim the 200 laps needed to achieve his goal. Swimming 200 laps a day can be pretty repetitive, so having his friends with him, especially by the end of the week, kept Hann focused and gave him the energy to keep going.
“It was so amazing to have the help of my friends last summer. I know we can work together as a team to help out the Orangeville Food Bank. They help so many people in our community. As swimmers, we all understand the importance of food and hope our campaign will do some good for our community” said Hann.
The campaign is already off to a great start. The Town of Orangeville has generously offered free pool time to help the swimmers complete their laps each day. Hann has also connected with some high profile Canadian swimmers who will be contributing laps to the team. “We will all be swimming 200 laps or 5 km a day, that works out to a total of 420 km. We are hoping other swimmers will contribute laps to top us up to 500 km. Paralympian Medalist Tess Routliffe, Olympian Tera Van Beilen and Olympic Medalist Brittany McLean have committed to swim laps for us, which is so cool!” Speedo Canada has also endorsed the team and provided each swimmer with a free training suit to encourage them during their swim week.
The team members include: Nicholas Barnes 12, Alexander Bowen 14, Clare Bowen 12, Linnea Cashmore 13, Rylee Fudge 12, Noah Halkett 12, Ryan Hann 13, Madyson Hartway 11, Samuel Pipher-Swyer 12, Emily Smyth 11, Sebastian Winegar-Tontegode 12, and Samuel Wood 14. What started out as a kid who wanted to use his passion for swimming to help his community has grown into a whole team of kids wanting to do the same. Each team member is contributing not only by swimming laps but also with school food drives, social media posts, selling chocolate bars and being ambassadors for the Orangeville Food Bank.
For more information on how to support the Will Swim for Food Team visit www.willswimforfood.ca