Inspired to help others through Swimming!

2013 Sep | By

When presented with the opportunity to raise money to help those with Multiple Sclerosis, Rachel Clift didn’t hesitate for a second.

“My mom told me about Swim for MS,” explains Clift. “Swimming is what I love to do, so when I heard I could raise money by swimming, I said ‘how can I sign up?’”

The Swim for MS initiative is a campaign run by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of American that challenges participants to take to the water with any sort of aquatic activity – diving, swimming, surfing, you name it – to raise funds to support programs for those with MS. has been an official supporter of the swimming fundraiser since January 2013.

“Missy Franklin supports Swim for MS and she’s totally my idol,” said Clift, from Scotts Valley, California. “So it was even more exciting to get involved.”

Earlier this summer, the confident 12-year-old set out to swim 500 laps at the Simpkins Swim Center in nearby Santa Cruz, California. One lap became 100 laps, then 250 laps and more, as Rachel became the Swim for MS fundraiser of the month in the entire U.S. for August.

Clift has a personal connection to MS; her Aunt Bridget is stricken with the disease and limited to a wheelchair.

By September 5th, Clift had only 25 laps left to reach 500. Following her typical routine, she swam the laps in IM format: fly, then back, followed by breaststroke and freestyle.


“Doing the IM helped me count the laps and mix it up with the strokes. 100m IM is my best event. I don’t think I could have kept track if it was only freestyle.”

As she finished her final strokes to reach 500 total laps at the Simpkins Pool, Clift was beaming with a smile before being presented with the famous Swim Bear and a special commemorative sign from her father.

“Now I have to head to my regular practice at 4:30,” said Clift. “My Aunt was my inspiration for this, so I’ve told her about it.”

And your compassion, enthusiasm and dedication are an inspiration for us, too, Rachel! Happy Swimming! supported Rachel with a commitment of $10 per lap on her final swim, helping her reach nearly $2000 in donations for the Swim for MS campaign.


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