May 14th, 2016

Share the Love

Fraser Nooroa Education Trust for Fraser's four children.

Fraser Nooroa Education Trust for Fraser’s four children.

As most of our readers will be aware we run RealSwim Adventures Cook Islands twice a year. The warm welcome with which we are treated from everyone we come into contact with in the Cook Islands makes it a place we simply love to return. It’s also nice when we can give back … Shannon is a Cook Island ‘local’ , she has been busy supporting our RealSwims over the last couple of years and could do with some help at the moment :

Fraser Nooroa was a good friend of many, well known in the Cook Islands community for his contribution to Cook Islands sports and being an all round good bloke. After a year of treatment in New Zealand Fraser returned home to Rarotonga at the beginning of this year and in March he sadly lost his battle with cancer. Fraser has left behind four gorgeous children. One of Fraser’s wishes was that all four of his children have the opportunity for further education. A group of his friends have got together to start up the Fraser Nooroa Education Trust in his honor. If you would like to donate towards this cause or for further information please contact me

We ‘swimmers’ tend to be a generous bunch. If this situation gets the heart strings going and you have some spare change I’m sure Shannon would love to hear from you. # OpenWaterSwimmers – we care .

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May 3rd, 2016

Swim Kit Additions

Two fantastic additions we have made to our swim kit this season are the AquaFlex Goggle by Zoggs and ear plugs by SwimEars .

Aquaflex by Zoggs

Aquaflex by Zoggs

The Aquaflex goggle becomes available in New Zealand from July 2016.We think it fills the gap perfectly in Zoggs range of goggles that we recommend for our swimmers. Now there truly is a goggle for everyone. At the small, low profile spectrum we have the RaceSpex while at the upper region we have the higher profile (and by far the most popular) Zoggs Predator Titanium . The Aquaflex fits perfectly between the two providing a lower profile goggle than the Predator while still providing a good field of vision. Our advice for goggles as always is try before you buy but we truly feel that one of these three styles will meet your swim needs.

For ear plugs we are stoked to be using SwimEars. Why? Most earplugs have a ‘one size fits all’ mentality. SwimEars enable you to custom fit the plug to your ears – how cool is that? If you are like us one of the frustrating things about wearing an earplug is you are then cut off from your swim mates – you can no longer hear them. Well SwimEars are also designed to let sound in! The third ‘win’ for us is that the plugs are connected via a leash. We were a little sceptical to begin however the leash fits nicely under the cap and that one time in hundred your custom fitted plug falls out (maybe when swimming with dolphins) you don’t lose it!



Well done Zoggs and well done SwimEars for helping to make our swims just that little more comfortable.


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April 7th, 2016

Action for Freshwater

Choose clean water

Choose clean water

Last month we attended a NZ Government Consultation evening in Christchurch hosted by The Hon Dr Nick Smith, Minister for the Environment. It was pleasing to hear him acknowledge that “Freshwater is New Zealands greatest natural resource”. It was concerning to hear how long the Minister is planning to take to address some of the issues currently impacting our freshwater in New Zealand. There are certainly many different groups, often with polarising views on how we should protect and manage our Freshwater. These groups all have strong opinions on how we should manage our Freshwater. We are of the opinion that we need to protect our current water quality and work as much as possible to improve it. The current government minimum water standard is “Suitable for Boating and Wading” … we think it is possible to boat and wade in a sewer pond. Therefore we give this ‘goal’ an ‘F’ rating… ‘F’ for … Frankly not meeting the standards most Kiwi’s would expect. Granted this statement is a little inflammatory but the point is extremely relevant. Lets aim for a water quality that we can be proud of … We support raising the minimum standard to swimmable to safeguard the health of New Zealanders, current and future! If you feel passionately about protecting this precious resource now and for the future what can you do?  We recommend following

and making a submission that Forest and Bird have set up:

Please take 5 mins to do this. Every message they hear that demands ‘swimmable’ as the minimum standard is powerful.

We are strongest together. ‪#‎wechoosecleanwater‬

NOTE: We suggest copying & pasting this sentence into the first paragraph.

“I support raising the minimum standard to swimmable to safeguard the health of our people”




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March 21st, 2016

Chopper Swim Challenge

The Chopper Challenge team (absent - Axel Wohlfarth, Rosie Sharman, Donal Barry)

The Chopper Challenge team (absent – Axel Wohlfarth, Rosie Sharman, Donal Barry)

Some of Auckland’s based swimmers have taken on-board Olaf Adam’s idea to raise funds by swimming from Waiheke Island to Mechanics Bay (the rescue helicopter base). It is a cool 20km. While this may be a short stroll in the park for experienced open water swimmers like Dan Abel, it is a big ask and stretch for some of those that have signed up for the swim, which is scheduled for the 31st of March. Participation has been split into solo swimmers (non-wetsuit and wetsuit!) and a couple of relays to ensure that all abilities are able to join the fund raising effort.

The team is currently working hard on their marketing of the event (and training, of course) and hope to edge closer to their $20k goal by the time the race starts – currently already in excess of $11k have been contributed!

Updates on participating swimmers can be found on the Chopper Challenge Facebook site:

Chopper Swim Challenge Facebook

Fund raising is being tracked via the Every Day Hero website.

Should you have any questions, please contact Axel on or Olaf Adam on



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March 1st, 2016


2016 New Zealand Open Water Championships, 10 January 2016

A big thanks to Zoggs for their support this season; sponsorship of the KPMG RealSwim race Series and FitandAbel swim coaching. Plenty of swimmers enjoyed the quality of their goggles not least FitandAbel’s Dan Abel using the goggles to good effect taking out First non wetsuit Epic Masters 2.5km / First in Age non wetsuit Ocean Swim 3.3km  / First open teams division Wanaka Challenge 70.3 . Zoggs was also the goggle of preference in some of the NZ Big3 swims this season. Thanks Zoggs for making a great open water swim goggle – most preferred by F&A swimmers.

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February 17th, 2016

New Zealand’s Big3 On The Up?

Chloe in Foveaux

Chloe in Foveaux

Let us start with a short paragraph on NZ marathon swim background and history; The top three recognised marathon swims in NZ (The NZ triple crown) are the Cook Strait , Lake Taupo and Foveaux Strait. The Cook Strait is probably the most recognised and certainly the most conquered of the three swims.  Michael Quinlivan, Sandra Blewitt and Belinda Shields swam all three in the 1980’s. Philip Rush completed doubles of Cook and Taupo in the 80’s but never got a suitable Foveaux weather window. Philip also completed a triple English channel swim in the 1980’s in a time that has never been beaten.  Meda McKenzie completed an array of amazing swims in the 70’s and 80’s including a crossing of Cook Strait at 15 years of age and a Foveaux crossing. Out of 8 successful Foveaux swims , four occurred in the 1980’s and one in 1979.  The 80’s were certainly a successful and exciting time for NZ marathon swimming.

If you look back through the records for NZ’s BIG 3 (see links above) swims from New Zealanders over the 90’s are fairly quiet. Over the last few years things are starting to heat up again with Anna Plunkett completing a superb Cook swim at 17 years of age in 2014. On a global level  USA based Kiwi swimmer Kimberly Chambers has marked a serious dent in the swim achievement awards, knocking off the Oceans7 and most recently completing an amazing swim from the Farallon Islands.

Things got exciting this month in Christchurch New Zealand as two locally based swimmers made their mark on two of New Zealands BIG 3.

1 Feb 2016 Chloe Harris becomes the fastest ever to swim between Stewart Island and New Zealands South island .

8 Feb 2016 Christchurchs Holly Cassin went big, very big, for her first ultra swim marathon attempt choosing to take on NZ’s 40.2km length of Lake Taupo. Battling wind and a shoulder injury she completed the epic swim in 15 hours 51 mins. Check out some highlights of Holly Swimming Taupo

These two swims helped highlight , locally at least, the two lesser known of our BIG 3 and marked significant achievements for Chloe and Holly – we say congratulations to them.  Could we perhaps be seeing a resurgence in NZ marathon swimming as the growth of open water swimming continues? We certainly hope so …

We leave you with some ‘swim facts’ from Holly and Chloes swims and the BIG 3:

Temperatures – Foveaux Strait averages 12.5 C with a range of 11- 14C. Lake Taupo temperature for Holly’s swim was 22C.

Chloe contemplates Foveaux

Chloe contemplates Foveaux

Goggles … Chloe and Holly both wore Zoggs goggles.

Holly going strong in Lake Taupo

Holly going strong in Lake Taupo

Distance – Foveaux Strait is about 16 miles (26km) across which is comparable to Cook Strait. Lake Taupo is approximately 40.2km end to end.

Feeding … Every half hour for Holly. Chloe started at 30 min feeds but reduced to 25 mins then 20 minutes as she fought off the cold.  Holly seemed very keen on eating Eskimo lollies but for the most part both athletes used

Shark protection – Chloe yes. Holly, No – Great Whites have ever been observed in Lake Taupo.

Swimming at night – Chloe (No) started and finished during the day. Holly started her swim at 4am and swam for approximately 3 hours in darkness.

Records – Chloe became the fastest of the 8 recorded swims across Foveaux Strait. Holly spent more time in the water than all but one of all Cook and Foveaux one way swimmers battling head winds for much of the swim. As we know the time tells very little of the journey and the challenges an open water swimmer faced on the day.

*Your first point of call in NZ should you be thinking about swimming any of the BIG 3 is Philip Rush


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