The American Diabetes Association recently hosted a 24-hour swimming marathon to raise funds for diabetes research, and the 17-year-old diabetic who was responsible for initiating the fund-raising activity was the first one in the pool.

Eddie Bjarnason, a junior at Jeb Stuart High School in Fairfax, who lives on Lakeview Terrace in Falls Church, started a swim-a-lane for diabetes research four years ago. The first year, Bjarnason collected over $800. Since then, according to a spokeswoman at the American Diabetes Association, Washington, D.C. Affiliate, the "Dip for Diabetes" has become the principle fund raiser for the association.

The second year, the Diabetes Association officially adopted the swim-a-lane, in which volunteers swim laps for sponsors who have pledged money for the event. That year, Bjarnason made over $2,400 for the association, and last year, he collected over $6,000.

Bjarnason said he began the project because, "I had heard about people doing sim-a-thons to raise money for other charities, and I wanted to earn some money for diabetes so they could find a cure." He has suffered from diabetes for 7 1/2 years, he said.

The recent "Dip for Diabetes" marathon was held at the American University indoor pool.