Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

At the age of 15, swimming teenagers are participating in races…not organizing them or directing non-profit groups.

But not Olivia Taylor.

The precocious South African established Four Elements Conservation NPC in a strategic attempt to do her best in helping preserve and improve the environment.

Miss Taylor and the Four Elements Conservation is set to make an impact with the 5 km Ocean Challenge.

On May 16th, 50 swimmers will battle it out between Durban’s North Beach and Vetch’s Reef. “The swim is not only physically challenging, but aims to challenge people’s perceptions of the ocean,” explains Taylor, now 18, who founded Four Elements Conservation at the age of 15.

The swim primarily aims to create awareness about ocean degradation, but also aims to fund an environmental scholarship camp at the end of the year, where candidates apply and get chosen based on various criteria – including passion and potential.”

Scheduled to take place in December 2015, the awardees will be taught to be independent young environmental entrepreneurs during a four-day adventure. The camp forms an integral part of Taylor’s goal to remind young people that passion can lead to positive change. “Youth have the most incredible ability to look past possible downfalls, allowing brave ideas to be formed, which leads to action and then to success. The secret is learning how to initiate change and then to remain optimistic when your confidence wavers.”

Taylor encourages those who are not swimming to walk on the Durban shoreline along the course while doing a beach clean-up. Those efforts are being coordinated by the Durban Girls’ College Environment Club.

She is also facilitating a snorkel swim hosted by the I AM WATER Ocean Conservation Trust on Vetch’s Reef for children from LIV Village, a Verulam-based orphanage.

To enter, visit here by April 16th (#Swim4Change). To contact Olivia Taylor, email Olivia@taylorfamily.co.za.

Top photo by Graham Stuart shows Jill Hannass-Hancock, Lwazi Deyi, Mike Schroeder and Wilma van Niekerk. Second photo from top shows Olivia Taylor, Julian Taylor and Glen Gore. Third photo shows Olivia Taylor and Ayanda Maphumulo.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association