MS Mighty Swim makes its biggest fundraising splash in 2023

14th February 2023

The 18th annual MS Mighty Swim reached a fundraising milestone, with more than $171,000 raised for people living with multiple sclerosis in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

The money raised in 2023 surpasses the previous highest fundraising total by more than $30,000. What a splash-tastic achievement!

After months of preparation and fundraising, the much-loved community event was held at the Unley Swimming Centre on February 11-12 with plenty of camaraderie and celebration.

More than 1249km were swum - that's 12,500 laps - by 444 swimmers in 20 teams across the 24-hour event, which was watched by hundreds of spectators.

Kicking off at 12.15pm on Saturday, February 11, the event was officially opened by MS Society SA & NT CEO Jannine Jackson and The City of Unley Mayor, Michael Hewitson AM.

As a special touch, MS Australia President Rohan Greenland flew in from Sydney to attend the event and present medals to two South Australians who have made outstanding, consistent, and selfless service to the MS movement in Australia as part of MS Australia’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

MS nurse, Sharon Barlow, who previously worked for the MS Society SA & NT, was recognised for her role in setting up the first SA MS clinic with Professor Mark Slee. Sharon continues to provide clinical support to the clinic. The University of Adelaide, represented by Shaun McColl, received recognition for its contribution to MS research.

Back in the water, there was plenty of fun, colour and sportsmanship on display as teams swam their hearts out to raise money for people living with MS, and chase event glory.

By the event’s end, reigning champions Nev’s Snorkellers took out the most laps swum for the third year in a row, swimming a impressive 88100 kilometers (or 881 laps). They also raised an amazing $11,954.

The Red Hot Oompas Loompas were the highest fundraising team with $13,818 raised, while Peter Bradley, who was in team Atlantis Frogs, was the highest individual fundraiser with $8048. In the days following the event, Atlantis Frogs brought their total to $14,313.

Team MS raised a tremendous $22,147! Team MS, made up of people who live with MS, received their own special recognition and loudest applause on the day. Technically, Team MS raised the most of all teams, because of their uncapped team numbers they don’t qualify for the highest fundraising team award.

There was plenty of entertainment outside of the water for participants and spectators, too, with face painting, balloon twisting, live music by Tom Harrington, magic by Mickster the Trickster, a visit from Superman and Elsa, the latest video games from Games2U, delicious Mexican cuisine from Braising Boy and massages by Adelaide Massage Connection.

MS Society CEO, Jannine, who attended her first MS Mighty Swim since becoming CEO in November, said she was touched by the display of community and commitment to helping the cause, and fundraising efforts.

“I was incredibly proud and humbled by everyone’s effort and the final results,” Jannine said.

“It was an amazing experience for all involved and I hope our MS community felt the love and support and had a terrific, fun-filled day.

“All funds raised go back into our MS community here in South Australia and the Northern Territory, to find new treatments and a cure.

“Our hope at the MS Society SA & NT is that one day we won’t need to exist, because for us, that means we’ve achieved our goal – a world without MS. Until that day, we will be here, day in and day out, to support and empower people living with MS in our community.”

Jannine even contributed laps to the swim with her unicorn floatie, MSty (pronounced ‘Misty’).

“I was, however, told that MSty was ineligible to participate in the swim as her magical powers were deemed an unfair advantage.”

Jannine has requested a review from event officials, who remain in deliberations.

On behalf of the MS Society SA & NT, thank you to participants, donors and volunteers for making the 2023 MS Mighty Swim the huge success that it was. Bring on 2024!

Missing the MS Mighty Swim already? Check out all the fun from the day in our photo gallery on Facebook.

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MS Mighty Swim makes its biggest fundraising splash in 2023