PhD student swims the Thames to raise money for cancer research

KUn student Victoria Bloom joined over a thousand people for a swimming race in the Thames.

Oscar Galvany

A Kingston University PhD student, whose parents are cancer survivors, took part in a sponsored two mile swim in the Thames on Sunday to raise money for Leukaemia research.

Victoria Bloom, who is doing her PhD on video games’ action recognition systems, swam 2.25 miles from Hampton Court Palace to Kingston Bridge in 51 minutes. Her parents, Jeanette and Michael Bloom, attended the event.

“It was great because my mum and dad came, and that was part of the reason I was doing this. I wanted to raise money for cancer research, as they both had cancer and went through treatment, and now they are clean and healthy. I felt it was good to support these charities,” said Miss Bloom

She raised £285 pounds from 22 donations through her personal fundraising page.

She wrote on her website: “My parents were remarkable through their diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Their positive attitudes and fight for life has made me extremely proud. I am pleased to say that they have both been given the all clear and are enjoying life together. I want to help save more lives by raising vital funds for Cancer Research UK. Their work is funded entirely by the public so please dig deep and donate now.”

The race, which was celebrating its third anniversary, was meant to take place in July, but was postponed until October due to heavy rain. Because of this, the water temperature was much lower than usual.

Miss Bloom said: “I would do another Speedo Swim again, but I would not do it in this temperature, because it was really cold. The race was celebrated in a very unusual time of the year. I have trouble breathing when the water temperature is so low. At the beginning it was a bit of a shock when I got in. I had to give myself a bit of time to get used to it before I could swim properly.”

Adam Martinovic, one of the organisers, said that the majority of the 1500 swimmers registered in the race were amateurs. That was also the case for Victoria, who has participated in other outdoor swimming races to raise funds for charities.

Mr Martinovic said: “We usually get some fast people, but we also get lots of slower swimmers. However, this event is very popular, and most of the people that signed up did actually turn up. It was a fantastic race today, everybody is happy, and there were lots of personal best times.”

Miss Bloom also said that the event was fantastic, because the location is “iconic”, and the race was timed and organised well.

She said: “I try to get involved in these events at least once per year, to get outside and do some swimming. Originally, I started swimming because I injured my ankle running. This was the first time I did the Hampton Court open though.”

The winners of the race were Daniel Shorthouse, who has already won five Speedo races this year, with a time of 30.05, Dave Warren, in 30.19, and Shawn Morgan, in 31.02.

To donate money to Victoria’s fundraising charity, visit http://www.justgiving.com/VickyBloom2012. 

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