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Cheering them on . . .While Imogen Barlow (12) pauses for a second to see where her relay partner Paige O’Neill (13), was in the pool, her team mates Anna Harrex (12), (above left) and Isla Ponsonby(13) cheer her on as they swim their laps of the Cook Strait Challenge at the Tuapeka Aquatic Centre on Tuesday. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE

john.cosgrove@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

Four teenagers from Lawrence were excited but very tired after swimming the equivalent of Cook Strait.

The biggest challenge the girls had so far faced began at 9am and finished at 3pm on Tuesday when they completed 880 laps of the Tuapeka Aquatic Centre as part of the Cook Strait Challenge Swim.

The cool weather helped the four young swimmers who had undertaken their ambitious adventure because they were looking for a challenge.

That challenge would help them develop resilience and raise money for charity.

Aided by families and friends, and a host of energy drinks, bananas and chocolate muffins, the quartet took turns completing lengths of the pool as their parents moved counters on a map board to show how far they had swum.

Parents and friends also swam with the girls to keep them company during their endeavour.

Facing the challenge were Anna Harrex (12), Imogen Barlow (12), Isla Ponsonby (13) and Paige O’Neill (13), who were all members of the Lawrence-Waitahuna Presbyterian Church.

Anna said she was confident she would complete her 220 laps of the challenge thought up by her father, Andrew Harrex.

Mr Harrex said the swimmers had trained hard in recent weeks and had earlier completed a 6km swim in an hour, so he had been confident they would all make it.

Following the swim, he said the quartet were ” happy but very tired and they know they had swum a long way”.

Paige’s father, Dave O’Neill, started the day as the lap counter and said he was very proud of her.

“She’s a pretty tough girl. Her strong will got her there in the end. She may not have been the fastest swimmer out there but she keep at it until she was done,” he said.