85km U-Turn super swim
No matter how hard you scrub, swimming in a wetsuit every day makes it impossible to shake the smell of neoprene.
But it’s all part of Craig McKibbin’s training as he prepares for his longest open water swim next month.
The Hamilton-based former Iron Man will swim the edge of Lake Waikaremoana completely unassisted to raise funds for U-Turn Trust.
McKibbin decided to do the swim last year, then came across the trust which supports troubled youth during a visit to Flaxmere to mark 20 years since his brother Glenn, a community constable, was shot dead at a traffic stop.
He has collected over $1500 through Givealittle which made the 5.30am training starts a little easier.
He is hoping to complete the 85 kilometre perimeter of the lake in seven days starting on February 8, but will carry enough supplies for up to 10.
‘‘At the moment I’m just ramping up the kilometres in the open water,’’ McKibbin said.
‘‘I’m pretty tired and I’ve had to start wearing ear plugs, the water constantly being in my ears is getting painful.’’
Peter Cook, who swam the edge of Lake Taupo five years ago, lent McKibbin a raft, which weighs about 15 kilograms and will be attached around his waist to tow camping equipment and supplies.
Originally McKibbin trained in a pool with a parachute to simulate the drag created by the raft. ’’I thought ‘if the raft is going to feel like this it’s going to be a really hard slog’.’’
‘‘But the first time I swum with the raft I kept stopping to see if it was still attached because it didn’t feel like I was towing anything.’’
During the challenge he will swim two rounds of 5km in the mornings, then spend the afternoons recovering.
He expected to feel okay for the first couple of days, but by the third and the fourth day his routine once he left the water would become crucial.
‘‘I need to get dry and into warm clothes first, then put up the tent and have some food and electrolytes so I don’t go off on a tangent.’’
Getting cold was the main risk and he would be swimming in a wetsuit, booties and a hood.
His wife, two children and extended family have hired homes at Onepoto and will contact him on a satellite phone.
‘‘My [four-year-old son] is starting to understand, he knows Dad is going for a really long swim.’’
Craig McKibbin preparing to swim the edge of Lake Waikaremoana.