Swim­mers form QT masters club

Central Otago Mirror - - SHOP LOCAL - DASHA KU­PRIENKO

A group of friends who have been swim­ming in Lake Wakatipu to­gether for years have made their group of­fi­cial.

The Queen­stown-based swim­mers will now be able to com­pete and host races in pools and open wa­ter as mem­bers of the newly formed South­ern Lakes Masters Swim­ming Club.

Club sec­re­tary Sheena Ash­fordTait said start­ing the club was ex­cit­ing.

‘‘In the Auck­land area there are stacks of clubs but here there’s us and Wanaka,’’ she said.

The stereo­type of Masters swim­mers be­ing old was not true, with peo­ple aged be­tween 20 and 70 join­ing, Ashford-Tait said.

‘‘You for­get how old you are when you are in the wa­ter.

‘‘Some of the guys are triath­letes who want to im­prove their swim­ming in the lake. This is go­ing to de­velop skills for those who want to com­pete.’’

Peo­ple who needed help learn­ing to swim in the lake, which was dif­fer­ent from the pool en­vi­ron­ment, were also wel­come in the club.

Lake Wakatipu was cold all year round, which was chal­leng­ing.

‘‘It can really af­fect you. You can ac­tu­ally get a brain freeze and get dizzy. The first cou­ple of min­utes you feel ‘oh my God, I am dy­ing’ and then your body shuts down and once your body shuts down you just get on with it,’’ Ashford-Tait said.

How­ever, the wa­ter clar­ity was ‘‘beau­ti­ful’’.

Club pres­i­dent Lu­cas Fornes, who swam in­stead of rac­ing on a kayak dur­ing the Peak to Peak mul­ti­sport event in win­ter, ini­ti­ated a club sub­mis­sion to the Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil to es­tab­lish a for­mal race lane.

The 800m area would stretch from Frank­ton Ma­rina to about Bat­tery Hill.

Mem­ber War­ren Sk­er­rett said the course could be named af­ter Hakitekura, said in Maori mythol­ogy to be the first per­son to swim across Lake Wakatipu.

The South­ern Lakes Masters Swim­ming Club will be launch­ing the sea­son with a swim and a bar­be­cue on Sun­day at the Wakatipu Scout Hall, Frank­ton Ma­rina, from 10am.

‘‘It’s a day af­ter the marathon so we are hop­ing for sporty peo­ple who are look­ing for a re­cov­ery swim and a bar­be­cue af­ter­wards,’’ Ash­fordTait said.

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