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The start of something extraordinary

Rewa Rebels take on Taupo

They may not be one of the country’s glamour high profile swimming clubs, but the Manurewa club will be competing alongside some of the best in Australia and New Zealand next month.

A team of 24 swimmers from the ‘Rewa Rebels’ will take to the tepid waters of Lake Taupo on Saturday 11 January to compete in the annual State Epic Swim, which also doubles as the Oceania and New Zealand Open Water Championships.

Most of the children in the team are under 12 years of age so they will swim in the 1000m event, but 13 year old Joshua Killian and 14 year olds Annabelle Ryan and Sam Rex, will be trying their hands at the 2.5km distance.

It has all come about because for the last three years the club’s focus has been on teaching the young swimmers to become more “water wise” so they have used the State Epic Swim to acclimatise to cooler water temperatures and the open water environment.

However the club and the swimmers do not have the funds for travel and accommodation for the event, but this time they have received invaluable financial assistance from Turners and Growers through the Bonita Bananas brand. Their support will mean the young swimmers will have their entries, accommodation and transport costs met by the sponsorship.

Manurewa Swimming Club coach Jane Logan is a strong supporter of the State Epic Swim, having attended the event for the last two years.

“I feel clubs have a responsibility to instruct swimmers in all conditions, whether it be cold lakes, sea, deep water, holes, currents, and tides. Too many families do not have that opportunity for their children to experience these situations,” said Logan.

Many of the swimmers can’t afford wetsuits so each year Logan takes her own special mixture of beeswax, shea butter, avocado oil, rosemary, and a few other ingredients to keep the kids warm in the case of cold water temperatures.

“I will bring my smellies down but if the weather is warm we don’t worry about it with the 1000m swimmers unless they are nervous.

“I always bring my aromatherapy oils so I can concoct something that will help focus them, or keep their muscles warm, or energise them. I just mix it with avocado oil and beeswax,” Logan said.

Logan learned from a Water Safety Conference that even people with no fat can get used to cold water if they regularly swim in it.

“With all the knowledge coming out about cold water shock, plus the importance of preparation for open water swimming, we are simply educating and preparing our swimmers for a big swim.”

The club swimmers have been training daily for the competition and look forward not only to the competition, but the whole experience of travelling away with friends to swim. With money and time permitting they will indulge in ‘active recovery.’

The Epic Swim, run by Swimming New Zealand, comprises a range of competitive and recreational swims in Lake Taupo with distances from 100m for swimmers from five years up to 10km, while there are high profile open competitions over 10kms on Saturday 11 January and 5km on Sunday 12 January for the New Zealand and Oceania Open Water titles.