How to swim Cook Strait without leaving home

The pool beckons . . . Ambitious swimmers (from left) Paige O'Neill, Anna Harrex, Imogen Barlow and Isla Ponsonby are prepared for their long day in the pool swimming 220 laps each to notionally cross Cook Strait.PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE

Swimming across Cook Strait sounds daunting enough but staying at home and swimming 880 lengths of the local Lawrence pool sounds just as ambitious.

Next Tuesday  at 9am, the Cook Strait Swim Challenge team will dive into the pool at the Tuapeka Aquatic Centre as they begin their long day in the water.

Swimming the equivalent of 22km, or 880 lengths of the pool, is daunting but for the four year 8 pupils of Lawrence Area School, it’s all part of raising money for worthy causes.

Swimmer Anna Harrex (12) said the 220 laps she had to complete was a challenge should take her and her friends between seven and 10 hours to complete looking forward to facing it alongside her friends Imogen Barlow (12), Isla Ponsonby (13) and Paige O’Neill (13).

The girls all attend the Lawrence-Waitahuna Presbyterian Church and were encouraged to undertake the challenge by Anna’s father, Andrew Harrex.

“They were looking for a challenge, one that would develop resilience in them, so I suggested the swim as a way of raising funds for charity,” he said.

Isla said the group had been training under swim coaches Carla Murray and Rod Jones and as long as they kept hydrated and focused, they should be able to complete the challenge.

Mr Harrex said money raised would go to three worthy causes to pay for sewing machines, goats and a nurse.