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High school athletes swimming for 24 hours to fight childhood cancer

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

High school athletes swimming for 24 hours to fight childhood cancer

By Stephanie Graham. CREATED Aug 26, 2014 - UPDATED: Aug 27, 2014

Scroll through the videos above to hear more about the event

HARTLAND - Jack Bartosz was a competitor--fighting cancer for seven long years before he passed away from neuroblastoma in 2012.  Now, swimmers on the Arrowhead High School team are competing against each other, and raising money for the I Back Jack Foundation.

Swimmer Maddie Barta says, "It feels really good, because I personally knew Jack Bartosz, he was next door neighbor, so knowing we're helping their foundation just makes everyone feel good, and we're all glad to be doing this together."

The young ladies are on relay teams--swimming for 24 hours straight!  

Ruth Ann Ahnen is head coach of the Arrowhead Girls Swim Team.  She explains, "Over the years it has gotten pretty competitive, and we've developed it into a senior leadership project." 

Ahnen started the event 6 years ago as a way to teach her team the value of competition for a cause.

"When you give them permission to be creative and thrive, it's amazing what can happen, and I think this year's going to be our best year yet," Ahnen beams.
 
This year is a 'Harry Potter' theme.  Coach Ahnen says, "The girls have divided the team into 4 different 'houses', and each house is competing within each other." 

In addition to the 'I Back Jack Foundation', money raised will go towards a scholarship in honor of an Arrowhead swimmer who died in a car crash 9 years ago.  The swimmers also collected food for the Hartland Food Pantry.