85km U-Turn su­per swim

The Napier Mail - - FRONT PAGE - ME­GAN HUNT

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.

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