It takes a lot of nerve to break a world record in any sport.
Some people are driven to beat their personal best, others are driven by their competition. For Great Britain and Sheffield swimmer, Lewis Coleman it was his mum in the crowd that spurred him on in the anchor leg of a world record breaking swim attempt.
Lewis, his younger brother Oliver, and 98 other swimmers including Becky Adlington, Karen Pickering and Michael Jamieson, smashed the Guinness World Records 100 x 100m swimming relay title last Saturday, setting a new time of 1h 29mins and 3 seconds. You can read more about the day on Emma Jones’ blog.
As a media team, we have been involved since last summer, advising and helping out as needed. Over the last few weeks during the immediate lead-up, we have worked hard to ensure the media knew that the event was happening, talking to journalists and inviting them to the event. On the day, we were there to meet and greet the reporters and make sure they got what they needed during the afternoon, and we were still in touch with them late into the evening. Thankfully, it all paid off!
The coverage exceeded expectation, spanning national, local, broadcast and online outlets. As well as promoting Lewis’ story and supporting his fundraising, the media coverage has helped to raise awareness of LLR and of blood cancers. Sharing Lewis’ mum’s story in particular, via such a range of media, presented the opportunity to highlight the importance of access to clinical trials for blood cancer patients, something Lewis feels very passionate about.
National media coverage included BBC Sport, a live studio interview on BBC Look North, as well as footage on ITV Calendar, helping to considerably boost fundraising and ticket sales. Interviews on BBC Radio Sheffield, BBC Radio Tees, as well as with the Sheffield Star, Bury Times, Third Sector and Swimming Times, were fantastic additions to raising the profile of the event and charity.
A wave of coverage then followed the event, including The Sun and an incredibly emotional piece on ITV Calendar, which captured the moment the record was broken. Watch it here.
It was also reported by many of the newswires, including MSN, Yahoo News, and the majority of local papers across the country. An insightful podcast from Pullbouy featured interviews with a whole host of swimmers, building the anticipation up brilliantly to the record breaking moment.
Credit must go to Lewis for putting on such an incredible event, as well as a huge thank you to Speedo for their support in the lead up and on the day, and to all the swimmers who were involved.
Katie Leason, Media Manager at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, adds: "It was an exhausting and emotional day for us, like everyone else involved, but it was an absolute honour to support the event from a media perspective. Lewis has been inspirational throughout, and put on an event that deserved all the media attention that it received."
Swimmers Liam Tancock and Caitlin McClatchey Becky Adlington, James Goddard and Harry Needs
(Photos courtesy of SWPix)
(Photo courtesy of Simon Wright)