Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A PAIR of bold Whit­sun­day swim­mers are pre­par­ing to test the icy wa­ters of the United King­dom later this year.

PRD na­tion­wide Whit­sun­day prin­ci­pal Christie Leet and project de­vel­op­ment man­ager Michael Hanisch will swim the chilly English Chan­nel in Septem­ber - dar­ing to com­plete nearly 40km of tor­tur­ous swim­ming.

“We’ve been train­ing since Novem­ber last year. Do­ing 30 to 40km a week and a lot of pool laps,” Mr Leet ex­plained.

How­ever the pool will seem like a spa in com­par­i­son to the Chan­nel, with Leet, who re­ferred to the chal­lenge as “the holy grail of swim­ming”, iden­ti­fy­ing hy­pother­mia as their big­gest threat.

“Only 1000 people have done it be­fore,” he said.

“The mileage and dis­tance is go­ing well and we’re ahead of where we need to be. The only dif­fi­culty is be­ing in North Queens­land with no cold wa­ter...we’ll be right for dis­tance it’s just about stay­ing warm enough.”

Train­ing for such an event has proven stren­u­ous, but Mr Leet and Mr Hanisch have de­signed a se­ries of swims to pre­pare.

Last week the pair com­pleted a 31km test stretch­ing from Dent Is­land to the Boathouse at Port of Air­lie. It took them seven hours to com­plete. This weekend they will un­dergo a se­ries of ses­sions in Syd­ney, hop­ing to test them­selves in cooler wa­ters.

DAR­ING SWIM: Christie Leet (pic­tured) is pre­par­ing to swim the English Chan­nel with col­league Michael Hanisch later this year.

CLOSE SEC­OND: Michael Hanisch and Rachael Elkaim fol­lowed Christie Leet a short while later, tak­ing only six and a half hours to swim from Dent Is­land to Boathaven Beach.

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