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Can you Swim the Distance?

Monday 1 August, 2022

What motivates people to put on togs in winter and take up a swimming challenge?

For Council employee Phil Nickerson, a 44-year-old dad of five, it started out as a way to do something with one of his sons.

“It was a bonding thing and it got us off the couch.

“He’s gotten older now and stopped doing it but I’ve carried on,” says Phil.

This will be Phil’s eighth year of entering Swim the Distance.

It’s an annual challenge for Tairāwhiti residents to see if they can swim 45.5km over a two-month period (that’s the distance from Gisborne to Mahia).

It runs every year, from 1 August – 30 September. It’s $50 to enter and that gives you two months of unlimited access to the 50m pool at the Olympic Pool Complex.

At this time of year, it’s a great motivator to stay active. So far 50 people have registered.

Phil says over the years he’s done it, some distances were minimal.

“One year I did 20km of the distance. Another year I did three times the distance – I just kept pushing myself as a personal challenge.

“Even if you swim 10kms, it’s about the participation. Support the pools, support the locals and do something healthy.

“You don’t even need to swim, you can walk, run, flutter board, dog paddle, as long as you are in the pool.

“Full disclaimer, I walk the distance in the pool. It’s all about getting in the pool and exercising.”

Swim the Distance is a partnership event run by Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti and the Gisborne Olympic Pool Complex.

You can enter as an individual or grab a team of six and enter as a group.

The entry forms are online and have to be returned to the Olympic Pool Complex.