There’s a reason Christmas enthusiasts go overboard with merry excitement during this time of year – blame it on the luminous trees adorning village piazzas and living rooms, baby Jesus statues in the roundabouts and fake snow lining shop windows. For others, the sight of the chomping waves generates all the feels of a truly, wonderful Christmas; because there’s no Maltese Christmas without the Thomas Smith Christmas Charity Swim.
The very first swim dates back to 1998 when a group of friends plunged in the cool December waters to challenge themselves for a good cause. The rest is history. The Thomas Smith Charity Swim has now become a celebrated occasion to have fun and donate money to the Malta Community Chest Fund, a foundation which assists various groups and individuals with the financial support they direly need.
This year, the appointed date is December 30th. Preparation for the event starts way before for both organisers and participants. Coordinators make a fantastic job in getting the area prepped for the day, with registration desks set up to welcome the rush of swimmers and supporters and street banners driving curious passers-by to the spot. Participants are encouraged to invite family members, colleagues and friends to support their wintry splash with a donation, urging them to each make heartfelt donations so that the total reaches a minimum collection of €50.
The day starts at 09:30am, with crowds flocking to the pier below Independence Garden in Sliema. With registration forms and donations in hand, swimmers make their way to the shore, to mingle and socialise with other participants. The President of Malta lights the atmosphere with her arrival, greeting the good-hearted public and officially inaugurating another Charity Swim edition.
With swimsuits on, cameras handy and cheers aplenty, swimmers sprint to the pier to take a few deep breaths and summon their courage to make the anticipated splash. The sea turns into a pool of people, splashing and swimming excitedly to the Thomas Smith banner, standing 100 metres away from shore. Sea temperature might still be within 15 to 17 degrees, but the crisp air will make goose pimples pop out, as swimmers make their way up the ladder to the warm embrace of towels and thermal clothing.
Swimmers head to receive their participation medals from the President of Malta, as she kindly thanks each and every participant for their kind gesture. A refreshing sandwich is typically downed with a sip of coffee or whisky to bring the body temperature back to life. Laughs, handshakes and salutes are graciously exchanged before everyone heads back to their Sunday festivities, knowing that a simple stunt will lead to substantial assistance for those in need.
Did we raise your excitement levels? Join 300+ swimmers on the quest of the year. Download the registration form, collect contributions for the Malta Community Chest Fund and head to Sliema on December 30th. Bring along friends, parents, siblings, partners, children and pets, irrespective of whether you’ll be watching or wading – your enthusiasm gives others the power to succeed.