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Heat’s on for open water masters swimmers

Heat’s on for open water masters swimmers

With local temperatures dipping to winter lows, more than 80 Kiwi swimmers are taking off to Samoa this week, to take on warmer open water swimming challenges.

The line-up includes State Ocean Swim Series age group winners Sarah Mortimer and Dawn Walker, and placegetters Dan Feisst, Dave Kirby and Pat Gallagher.

The Samoa Swim Series will welcome more than 150 entrants, for three swims of up to four kilometres in length, and the Pacific Open Water Challenge which is for the best combined time over a 10 kilometre ‘marathon’ distance and five kilometres.

The event was founded by Aucklander Seti Afoa, whose vision of encouraging Samoan people to become competitive in swimming and triathlon, is coming to fruition via his series of adventure sports events that bring international athletes and support to Samoa. The Samoa Swim Series is followed in August by the Samoa Warrior Half Ironman Distance, which is regarded as a warm-up for Hawaii’s Kona Ironman World Championship, and has attracted 11 professionals this year including Cameron Brown, Graham O’Grady, Anna Russell, and a further 30 competitors.

By driving training, coaching, and a program of international events, Seti has so far nurtured a number of Samoan based triathletes, runners and swimmers, young and old, and has also helped bring back to life the Samoan Aquatic Centre, a state of the art complex which was built in 2007 for the South Pacific Games, but which was nearly mothballed due to lack of use. Three Samoa residents were inducted into the Samoa Ironman Hall of Fame, which Seti introduced in 2013 to recognise the mega effort of any Samoan anywhere who has completed a full Ironman. Inductees include Seti’s brother, Daniel Afoa (49), for completing the Coeur d’Alene in Idaho in June.

“This is my second time in Samoa - I really loved the event last year, it’s well organized and so nice to swim in clear warm water and escape New Zealand winter for a week,” says last year’s winner Sarah Mortimer. “Really enjoy the fact that each swim is at a different location.” In the last season Sarah won the Bean Rock and Waihi Beach Swims, and took third place in the Round the Mount swim.

The Samoa Swim Series runs from 31 July - 2 August in some of Samoa’s most special and unique stretches of water.


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