End-to-End: swimmers take plunge for charity
No waiting until May 24 could hold back the End-to-End swimmers, who took to Hamilton Harbour with gusto yesterday after last week's weather delay.
Cold? Not for the 50 or so who gathered at the marina off the Hamilton Princess: “It's 75F,” said organiser Nick Strong, a ten-year veteran.
“And it's for charity. The End-to-End selects some good ones each year.”
Most swimmers would have been happy to brave last week's winds for the 4.5km lap around Marshall Island, but the cancellation was important for safety and the team of volunteers who go out on the water to maintain it, Mr Strong said.
The swim can take anywhere from an hour to two hours.
There was an air of excitement among the waiting swimmers, safety organiser Mandy Shailer said — also waiting on last-minute registrants, to top up the 43 who signed on last week.
“Fantastic,” was the verdict of Gerhard Boonstra, a seasoned swimmer taking part in this particular feature of the End-to-End for the first time.
Wetsuits were for buoyancy rather than what the rest of us might call chilly waters, he added.
“It's a great opportunity to swim in the harbour, which you never usually get to do because of the boat traffic,” said Ironman triathlete Karen Smith.
“It's a beautiful swim. Last year we saw a lot of turtles and eagle rays. It's nicer than staring at the black line in a pool, and it's not a race; it's a really nice vibe.”
Second-year swimmer Annette Budge spoke of the camaraderie, and fellow second-timer Julia Hawley agreed. “It's a great event. It's a long way, but it's not competitive and there's no pressure. It's just a good time.”