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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January 13th, 2016

Epic Taupo RealSwim Adventure

20160107_100002January is always an exciting time in New Zealand. Summer is in full swing, holidays are upon us and it’s a great time to be open water swimming. We have just completed our Epic Taupo RealSwim trip which was hands down our best to date. We can put a trip itinerary together but who books on the trip and the magic that happens is totally unscripted and when it all comes together; great people, awesome location, perfect weather and fun swimming – well that’s the magic. But rather than us telling the story here is some feedback from guests this January 2016 …

“I returned for the second year running after an outstanding time the first year and this year continued to provide new and exciting adventures, challenges,friendships and accomplishments! As someone new to swimming as an adult and lacking some confidence in the water, I always leave Taupo feeling confident and grateful for the experience ! Each year we have swam in different part of Lake Taupo and the experiences encountered varied so much but all of them spectacular! Lake Taupo water is crystal clear and has to be experienced! The scenery and sportive nature of the swim gives you the chance to swim for enjoyment, relax in the water, build confidence and experience new world class experiences!  To finish the trip, we have the chance to participate in The Epic Taupo swim race.  You can take this at your own pace and challenge yourself to  your own level! I surprised myself by being able to swim 5km and this is something I wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for this swim camp.  There are plenty of events for all levels. The support you receive from the Realswim adventures team is outstanding, fun and supportive! The preparation and skills they give you have provided me with good knowledge and tools to be successful in other endeavours.   Bring on Epic Taupo 2017!”DCIM100GOPRO

“Firstly, thank you Dan…I know I have already said this but I am sincerely grateful for all that you have helped me with. As always you were the voice in my head all the way around Saturdays race and then to have you hanging off the edge of the jetty with words of encouragement…well that was a massive boost. I went into that with two goals- one was to finish and the second was to finish in under three hours. Thank you for helping me achieve these.

Secondly, the whole trip — what a magnificent trip you have set up. The fun of sportive swimming is mind blowing and your enthusiasm for it is contagious. I cannot imagine a more fun way to see Lake Taupo than the way you have shown us. Cruising along the lake edge in and out of those cliffs and caves was a breathtaking experience. And then in the middle of the lake, well I could’ve spent hours just pottering around there happily. You really have done a brilliant job putting this together and it really is an EPIC trip :) You deserve a pat on the back for the work you have put into organising these trips! This is a worthwhile trip that I would recommend to everyone.”DCIM100GOPRO

You can view Epic Taupo RealSwim 2016 Album pictures click here Epic Taupo RealSwim Adventures 2017 is now open – strictly  limited spaces. To book

*Note that after signing up for our trip you must then enter your weekend Epic swim races events via ,  make sure you have our RealSwim Epic discount code before you do!

Contact us


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November 29th, 2015

What’s Up? and ‪#‎RealSwimAdventures‬; helping bored pool swimmers enjoy swimming again, since years ago. and ‪#‎RealSwimAdventures‬; helping bored pool swimmers enjoy swimming again, since years ago.

After a great summer in the UK and a successful October Cook Islands RealSwim  we are pleased the warmer weather has finally arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand. Yes another summer is on the cards for FitandAbels  head coach, much to the chagrin of the team at

The earlier a swimmer returns to the open water in the spring the more comfortable they start to feel as the water warms up. Shorter swims earlier ensuring you get out before the cold becomes too much are the key when starting out. Longer swims become more possible over time with adaptation and improved water temperatures. It doesn’t matter what stage of the year a swimmer gets in the open water if you haven’t been in for some time it will feel a lot different ~ don’t wait until the week of your event to make the transition!

What’s happening in Christchurch and New Zealand with FitandAbel and RealSwim Adventures this summer?

We are very excited to have launched the KPMG RealSwim Race series last week at Corsair bay. There is racing throughout December and into January and Feb. In January we will be racing at Naval Point on 27 Jan for the first time.

Our evening open water group fitness swims are happening every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through until the end of Feb. These are filling up fast – you need to pre-register

RealSwim Adventures ; Locally we have Quail island  with swims happening throughout the summer. In January we’ll be at Epic Taupo  followed by Nelson Lakes  and later in 2016 we’ll be off to the Cook Islands again!

And don’t forget our Xmas stocking fillers … RealSwim Bags, Quail Island RealSwim Vouchers or a Private 121 swim coaching voucher are all swimmer pleasing Christmas ideas for loved ones and friends. Just ask us

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October 22nd, 2015

The Cook Islands

DSC_3570We are just back from an amazing RealSwim Adventure week set in the clear and warm waters of the Cook Islands. It is an amazing trip and we aren’t just talking about the swimming. Read on to see the latest package and itinerary for our 2016 Cook Islands RealSwim Adventure.

Introducing our brand new Cook Islands RealSwim Adventures package. The Basics provides just that – $1500NZD gets you a week of swim guides, safety cover, event hosting for the week, charter boats, refreshments and nutrition while on the charter boats. For flights and accommodation you have the option of booking yourself or we can help  … we have partnered up with Destination Management Cook Islands, DMCK . With The Basics at the minimum all you have to do is turn up to our swim start time/location each day, or you can ask us via DMCK to an accommodation and flights package together for you.  The Basics gives you the most flexibility (arrive early / stay longer / flights and accommodation of your choice and Budget).

It’s not just about the swimming. Don’t get us wrong, the water is clear along with guaranteed warm weather makes for fantastic swim conditions. However the Cook Islands RealSwim  week is all about getting to know the real Cook Islands; friendly locals, fantastic lagoons, cultural dinner evenings, fire pit theme dinner, a multitude of other activities and we’ll always make sure you have time to simply lay in the sun, read a book and simply enjoy being in paradise.DSC_3555

Day 1 & 2

Our Cook Islands RealSwim starts on Sunday in Rarotonga. Our trip briefing and first intro swim in the Muri lagoon is on the Sunday. We can work with you if you need to arrive on the Monday morning arrival of the Air New Zealand LA – Rarotonga flight. Our Sunday and Monday swims are all conducted in the beautiful Muri Lagoon. Dinner on Sunday night is at the Muri night markets where food stalls provide an exciting array of local cuisine

Day 3

Day three Tuesday starts with the locally famous ‘Boiler swim’. After lunch we fly 50 minutes to Aitutaki. With The Basics responsible for booking your flights to Aitutaki (Tues afternoon) and out of Aitutaki (Saturday afternoon). This is not covered in the trip price. We recommend you contact our Cook Islands partners , Destination Management Cook Islands by e-mail for assistance with connecting flights. You can book all flights direct with Air New Zealand. Accommodation in Aitutaki is also your responsibility with The Basics option. We recommend accommodation at or in proximity to Aitutaki Lagoon Resort or Aitutaki Village or Rangis.


Day 4

Starts with the exciting ‘source’ swim in the channel of One Foot Island and is followed with a lunch on a remote ‘Motu’ (Island). The afternoon you swim off the beach on the amazing white sands. The evening meals on our RealSwim are ‘pay as you go’ and gives you the chance to choose. The guides will organise a meal each evening and those want to attend are most welcome.

Day 5

For this exciting swim we venture into the rich almost purple waters of the outer reef. Sometimes scary, exciting and beautiful. Not to be missed. We’ll have lunch with Trina and Steve at their lovely Koru Café and a free afternoon to rest, lounge, sunbathe or rent a motor scooter and explore Aitutaki.

Day 6

This is the big one – Island to Island swim which is 4-5km depending on how straight you swim  Followed by an amazing picnic lunch on One Foot Island and then a short Motu to Motu afternoon swim . We head back to the hotel to get ready for our final night and an exciting dining experience. In the evening we celebrate our week with a fire pit dinner at the local Toa Moana oe vaka club.

Day 7

Provides the opportunity to refine technique and learn more about your stroke and open water swim skills as we round out the week with some coaching in one of the channels of the Samade loop.  The guides will book a location for a lunch which you can choose to attend as a final farewell. The evening flight for LA leaves late from Rarotonga. Of course many of you will want to stay on and enjoy some more beach time. Aituktai and Rarotonga provide more than enough opportunity to fulfill a relaxing post RealSwim holiday option.


Next Cook Island
RealSwim Adventures

April 17 – 23, 2016  
Spaces remaining

Oct 9 – 15, 2016  
Spaces remaining

E-mail –


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