In the fall of 2015, three girls from the Blust family in Middleton, WI became motivated to join IJM 's fight against modern-day slavery. After studying William Wilberforce’s 18th century abolition movement, they were horrified to learn that the number of slaves held globally today far exceeds that of the Atlantic slave trade. The girls came up with the idea to hold a swim-a-thon (a fun alternative to the more common 5K run) to get other local families involved, too.

The first Freedom Swim took place on April 2, 2016 at the Middleton High School pool. 62 participating swimmers raised $17,570 (way past the goal of $6300) to fund almost three IJM rescue operations! The second Freedom Swim involved 86 swimmers and raised $38,921, the equivalent of six IJM rescue operations! And on April 7, 2018, 124 swimmers joined in for our third Freedom Swim, raising $57,321 with their amazing families and sponsors, funding more than eight IJM rescue operations!

Many of the swimmers are not part of a swim team, and work very hard to accomplish — and surpass — their lap goals and fundraising goals. Plus, they have a great time! Way to go, Freedom Swimmers!! We're so proud of all your hard work!

We now have an amazing team of parents and friends who work together to put this event on annually because they believe in empowering our youth to make a difference in the world. For the 2019 Freedom Swim, we are again setting the goal high. The number of slaves in the world today is estimated at over 40 million (according to the 2018 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery), many of them children. We've decided to shoot for $65,000, because they deserve a better life! Please join us and make this year our best Freedom Swim yet!