The Kai Iwi Lakes open water swim was a major drawcard in 2018, and maybe even bigger this year

Open water swim causes a splash

by Andy Bryenton

Swimmers from all across the north will be hosted by the Dargaville Swimming Club on December 14, as the region’s annual open water swimming championships take place at Kai Iwi Lakes.

The combined fun day and competitive tournament will see swimmers as young as nine and as old as 70-plus taking to the water at this scenic location in a range of sprint and endurance events. The shortest ‘splash and dash’ for the youngsters is a brisk 100 metres, while the longest event is a full 10-kilometre ‘aquatic marathon’. Carlrine Gillespie, the partner of event instigator and internationally qualified open water swimming referee Ross Gillespie, says that the event is about more than just having a good time and competing for a top position on the podium.

“We’re surrounded by water and lakes, and swimming in open water with confidence is a valuable skill. It’s very different from swimming in a pool with lines and lanes.

“This event is a way to give young swimmers some extra confidence, and to educate them about swimming in different conditions and environments.”

It will be the second annual open water event at the dune lakes north of Dargaville, and numbers are up on 2018’s muster.

Along with the swim itself there will be a large family barbecue hosted by the Dargaville Swimming Club for both spectators and competitors. As the organisers say: “Swimming begins at 10am, so come and watch the competition unfold, enjoy the fine weather and dive in to cool down!”