NORWALK — Norwalk High School students, faculty and staff will once again flop for cancer research Wednesday in the annual Bear Flop fundraiser hosted by the Bears Beating Cancer Club.

“Basically, we flop until our bellies are red and a champion is crowned,” said club co-adviser Larry Anastasia. “We have 10 teachers and over 20 students who will be belly flopping in the pool in front of a sold-out crowd.”

Now in its seventh year, the money raised by the belly flop competition are donated to the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital. The event brings in an average of $5,000 annually, and raises awareness for cancer research.

Participants have been collecting funds by seeking pledges and sponsors for several weeks. The event, which takes place at the Norwalk High School pool at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday usually sells out with tickets $5 each. Donations can also be made at the door, as well as after the event until the funds are presented to the hospital in January.

Anastasia said all funds are donated to the cancer center, so donation checks can be made directly to the Whittingham Cancer Center. Students from the Bears Beating Cancer Club will tour the center in January and present the hospital with donations of scarves, hats and blankets, as well as the funds raised from Wednesday’s event.

This year’s judges will be head football coach Sean Ireland, and Michael Bonebrake, a social studies teacher and NHS alum. Judges will take into consideration the integrity of flop — did the floppers belly hit the water — as well as creativity, height of jump and splash effectiveness.

“They’re pretty critical but it’s all in good fun,” Anastasia said.

Last year’s staff winner, Housemaster Edward Singleton, is unable to participate this year, leaving the lane wide open for a new staff champion. Regardless, Singleton said he won’t miss the exciting event.

“This is truly a student driven type of event,” Singleton said. “Whether you are participating, whether you purchase a ticket to attend, you are helping a great cause.”

The 2013 iteration of the event won the 2013 Connecticut Challenge to Educational Citizenship Award, which celebrates student-organized activities that involve service to the school, to the community and/or to those in need.

“As a member of Norwalk High, it’s a nice event for the kids that aren’t really involved in too much stuff … this is one of those activities they can take part in and they can say ‘I won the Bear Flop,’” Anastasia said. “It’s just another avenue for kids to get involved, give back to the community and raise awareness for cancer in the process.”

kkrasselt@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2563; @kaitlynkrasselt.