Swim date, 25th March 2021
Time, 7hours 25mins
Age at swim date, 42 years
Observers Andy McDonagh (kayaker), Robert Van Zwam
Please tell us something unique about your achievement. Tell your story
Having swam the 40.2km of Lake Taupo in 2018 this swim was a challenge to see how I would manage in salt water and chop as I had never done more than 10km in salt water. It was also a privilege to be able to raise money for a very important cause Westpac rescue helicopter. I entered a shop the day after the swim and the lady in the shop was so grateful for our efforts as her daughter had needed these services in the past. It was so touching to see the direct impact the fundraising had on the island communities. My skippers family also utilized the rescue helicopter at Xmas to get their unwell son from Great barrier to Starship hospital...so I felt a sense of greater importance to finish this swim.
As is often the way the journey to the outcome is more important than the outcome itself. I learnt that I can cope with both cold and warm water environments and I learnt I have become comfortable in varying conditions, and that there are some awesome people in this world you volunteer their time and skills.
How did your life change following your achievement(s)?
The more time I have spent in the open water swim community the more I have realized why I am drawn to this sport...the people! The continued positivity, collegial nature, support, encouragement and love that our community offer is a very rare thing in sport where often it is about competing with each other. Open water swimmers just want the best for each other no matter what event you are doing.
I also feel absolutely privileged to have had people offer their support in a voluntary way to help me achieve the chopper swim. To them I am truly grateful.
I live by the saying pay it forward..and have been honor to support fellow swimmers in Taupo and Cook Strait, and I feel that my support crew for chopper paid it forward too. Thanks.