Anna going to great lengths

Anna Harrex, of Lawrence, will swim 22km in her local pool on Easter Monday to raise funds for...
Anna Harrex, of Lawrence, will swim 22km in her local pool on Easter Monday to raise funds for the Cancer Society. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
A Lawrence teenager is going to great lengths to raise money for a cause close to her heart this Easter Monday.

When Anna Harrex, 17, heard her grandfather Colin Harrex (80) had been diagnosed with bowel cancer last year, the keen swimmer wanted to do something to contribute.

In November, she decided she would take an earlier challenge she had completed one stage further to raise money for the Cancer Society, and swim the equivalent distance of the Cook Strait’s narrowest point (22km).

However, not too keen on sharks and 5m swells, the Lawrence Area School year 13 pupil decided she would complete the task in the town’s pool.

"When we were 13, some friends and I did the same challenge, but divided by four. So we all did 5.5km over the course of a day in relay style.

"I enjoyed doing that, so I told myself I’d do the whole thing before I was 18, and here we are."

She said she would divide the day-long challenge into six sessions of about 4km, taking 30-minute breaks between each stint.

In total, between 8am and 8pm on Monday, she plans to complete 880 laps of the 25m pool.

"The original challenge made me realise I liked swimming and I joined a club after that and train pretty hard as part of that anyway.

"But I’ve been doing four or five sessions a week in preparation for this, of 5km each."

The young endurance athlete said she had been encouraged and advised along the way by friends, family and her school physical education teacher Carla Murray.

"Mrs Murray has been really supportive and helpful. I’m also expecting quite a few people to come along and swim a few lengths with me along the way."

Her grandfather has made a full recovery from cancer, although that did not change her determination to succeed, she said.

"This is for Granddad and everyone who suffers from cancer."

Mr Harrex said he was confident his granddaughter would ace the challenge.

"I’m absolutely thrilled and proud of her. Cancer Society is a great cause to be supporting, and we’re all right behind her. Go Anna!"

Anna had set up an official Cancer Society donations page for those who wished to support her fundraising efforts, at

At the time of writing, about $3700 of a $5000 target had been raised.