Swimmers form QT masters club
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.