The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Instagram

Student swims to raise money for mission work

She didn’t actually jump into the Atlantic Ocean and swim to Africa, but senior Sara Stringfellow hopes her project to raise funds for South African missionary work attracted some attention.

Stringfellow spent 11 hours Sunday in the Dedman Rec Center’s pool doing a “lapathon,” in which several students pledged to donate money for each lap she completed. The proceeds from donations will be used to help out existing local missionaries as well as future missions. Funds raised will also help Stringfellow with her travel expenses.

“At first it was just a challenge for me,” Stringfellow said. “I’ve always been curious to see how far I could go if I just didn’t have to stop. I actually just thought it would be really funny if after I got done with my swim to see how many meters or miles I’d been.”

Stringfellow, who is planning to travel to a global missions conference in Africa in August, says that she originally was going to give the money she raised to Wesley’s mission trip to Ghana.

“This trip coming up – people needing financial support to do that – I figured that was the best time,” Stringfellow said. “They [were] going to be working with local missionaries there, providing support to orphanages and all sorts of services that the mission’s doing there.”

The trip was cancelled because of a lack of funds, according to Stringfellow. However, she isn’t letting this setback affect her fundraiser for Africa. Stringfellow will be traveling throughout Africa, starting first in South Africa and then the rest of the continent.

Although she doesn’t swim competitively, Stringfellow, a theater major, works as a lifeguard in the rec center and says she loves to surf – “body surf especially.”

“I have always loved the water,” she said. “Growing up just around beaches in Florida, I’ve always loved swimming. I swam competitively one summer and it just wasn’t my thing. I’m not really a sprinter.”

Stringfellow started swimming at 1 p.m. on Sunday and ended her fundraiser at midnight. During the event, she swam 354 laps for a total of 11 miles.

Stringfellow says her friends have been “really supportive” of her project, adding, “I was really surprised. I thought a lot of people would think that I was crazy but they [were] all really gung-ho about it. I think everyone [was] just as anxious as I am to see how far I can go.”

Pledges were given to Stringfellow via a Facebook event she created for the challenge. Prior to the fundraiser, Stringfellow’s longest swim time was two hours.

“The reason I got out after two hours is not because I was tired, but because I was cold, which is my biggest problem,” she said. “Being a Floridian, it’s freezing just to be in 60-degree weather, let alone an 80-degree pool. When you’re in water, if it’s any bit below 98.6 degrees, you’re going to get cold eventually.”

More to Discover