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Swimmers looking to challenge their abilities can take up the long-distance summer swim challenge, which starts on 1 February at Wellington City Council pools.
Participants have three months until 30 April to swim or aquajog the 53 kilometres which, this year, is equivalent to doing a circuit of Lake Mead in Nevada, near Las Vegas. Past swim challenges have included Loch Ness, Cook Strait and the English Channel. The distance covered is recorded by pool staff and there are spot prizes along the way.
Entry to the swim challenge is by gold coin donation as a fundraiser to support Nick Ruane, a Wellington-based para-triathlete, who has competed successfully on the international triathlon circuit. Nick won a silver medal in the para-triathlon in Nevada at the 2011 world long-distance triathlon championships - hence the 'location' of this year's challenge.
The funds raised by the swim challenge will go towards Nick Ruane's travel and race costs for his 2012 season, which starts in March with the Contact national tri-series in Wellington and culminates in October with the world triathlon champs in Auckland. Long-term he's working towards qualifying for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Council has supported Nick Ruane for several years with a free swim membership for all Council pools and he trains twice a week at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre. Nick took up running in 2001 and within four years of learning to swim he had completed his first triathlon.
"I only learnt to swim in 2009. Swimming at school wasn't seen as an option for me because of my disability so I've had a real fear of water. The support I've had from the City Council has been fantastic and I'll be out there doing my best to get people into the swim challenge," he says.
The swim challenge is a great opportunity for improving fitness and wellbeing, with people of all ages and abilities taking part. It usually attracts around 1600 participants and the Council is hoping to get more people in the pools this year.
To find out more about Nick Ruane, visit: