Swimmer aiming to complete Hawea-Wanaka double

Meg McLaughlan swims in Lake Wanaka earlier this month. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Meg McLaughlan swims in Lake Wanaka earlier this month. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Meg McLaughlan is going to do something not many teenagers undertake between Christmas and New Year. A lot of exercise and some back-breaking work.

Her work, although not in the traditional sense, will actually spill into January 1.

The St Hilda’s Collegiate School pupil will first attempt to swim the length of Lake Hawea. She will then return to the water the next day to try to swim the length of Lake Wanaka.

The 17-year-old said she came up with the idea by following in the footsteps of some of her friends.

"A couple of my friends did something similar last year and I though that it was kind of cool.

"One of them went and swam Queen Charlotte Sound, so I thought I could do something like that," she said.

She is not an experienced lake swimmer, mainly being accustomed to Moana Pool, in Dunedin, where she has up to eight training sessions a week as a member of coach Lars Humer’s squad.

Hopwever, she has had a couple of dips in Lake Wanaka over the past couple of weeks.

"It is very cold and I will get some more training in over the weekend. But it is not too different than a pool apart from every 25m in a pool you do a turn. You do not do that in a lake, obviously. So it can get kind of boring, but not too bad."

She intended to take two days to cover Lake Hawea, starting on December 28, and then head over to Lake Wanaka to start on December 30, hoping to finish on January 1 on the lake’s foreshore near the town.

Each day may take a few hours, having a 5am start with a support crew in tow.

She started off as a breaststroker but lately had moved into freestyle, which would be handy for the lake swim.

All up, she will cover just under 80km but if the wind and swell get up on the lakes, it might be more.

She is doing the swim to help raise funds for the Cancer Society in Otago-Southland and has a givealittle page set up.

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