As our paralympians carved up the pool in London, another athlete swam his own race closer to home.

Blind marathon swimmer James Pittar tackled the Sydney coastline to raise money for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Covering 12 kilometres in the surf from Collaroy to Shelly Beach near Manly, James was joined by 19 other swimmers for the last two-kilometre stretch as they swam into North Steyne beach.

Pittar says he chose to share his latest challenge with other swimmers for a number of special reasons.

“There are going to be 20 of us because 2012 is the 20th Anniversary of The Fred Hollows Foundation and it’s also their goal to end avoidable blindness by the year 2020."

“The Foundation can restore sight for as little as $25, so if every swimmer can raise $1,000, that's enough money to restore sight to as many as 800 people."

James started fundraising for The Fred Hollows Foundation over five years ago through his impressive long distance swims.

Adding to a swag of accolades, James has competed in World Championships for both rowing and swimming. In 2010, he was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame alongside Australia’s Des Renford and Susie Maroney.

Through the support of ordinary Australians and fundraisers like James, The Foundation has restored sight to millions of people worldwide over the past 20 years.

There are still 39 million people in the world who are blind, but tragically 4 out of 5 of these don't need to be.