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HISTORIC USA EVENTREVIVED 


Organizers this year revived the Lake George


Open Water Swim, an event last held in 2007. The 41km event, now in its 85th year, is held in upstate New York, on the edge of the scenic Adirondack Mountains. The course runs almost the length of Lake George, from Lake George Village – the touristy part – to the hamlet of Hague at its northern end. This year, organizers from Greenleaf Racing offered a choice of shorter distances – 2.5km, 5km, 10km and a four- mile point-to-point. H2Open Reader Liz Morrish was among those who took part.


5 MINUTES WITH…


She says: “Those of us hardened by colder UK waters enjoyed the pleasant 23C waters, and 30C air temperature. “The water quality was excellent, and the course has views over densely wooded mountains. Organizers went to enormous trouble to ensure participant safety and enjoyment. We got free drinks and pizza, and the event draws a friendly crew of all ages.” Morrish adds: “You’ll need to buy a temporary membership of the US Masters Swimming to take part, and provide evidence of your ability to complete your chosen swim. It’ll be the best swim nobody at home will ever have heard of!”


Botswana born and raised Mike Ventre recently became the second Brit to swim the Molokai Channel, and has ambitions to complete the Oceans Seven challenge.


What inspired you to take up the Oceans Seven challenge? Following two unsuccessful atempts at the English Channel I finally completed it in August last year, which gave me a mental boost, because now I know I can actually do this open water thing! The Channel was always going to be the benchmark. I knew if I could complete that then I could have a good shot at the other great channel swims of the world.


What’s next on the list? The Robben Island to Cape Town swim in February [not part of the Oceans Seven] and then either the Tsugaru or Gibraltar Strait later in the year.


Which of the seven do you think will be the most difficult? The North Irish Sea could be the most difficult, due to its 12C temperature, but having said that, the Molokai Channel was the most difficult experience of my life to date.


What route will you take for the North Channel – the traditional one or the Mull of Kintyre route recently completed by Wayne Souter? Wayne’s swim was a fantastic achievement. Well done to the Saffa lad! It was gutsy to break tradition the way he did but I may stick to the traditional route. Maybe I will get a chance to have a beer with him and see if he can pass on some valuable pointers.


H2Open reader Liz Morrish exits the water at lake George


NZ SWIM SERIES CASH BOOST


This season’s New Zealand Ocean Swim Series has just got a litle more exciting for elite swimmers, with the prospect of NZD$20,000 for both the men’s and women’s winners. The series of six races in scenic and iconic locations around the country atracts in excess of 5,000 swimmers. However, in each race a handful of elite swimmers will start one minute ahead of everyone else and will be batling it out for the prize purse. Each swim is between 2.6 and 3.3km, although there are shorter distance options for recreational swimmers. To qualify for a series prize, swimmers must enter the ‘elite’ category and compete in at least three events. Prizes, including holiday packages and wetsuits, are also on


offer for recreational swimmers. See oceanswim.co.nz for details.


Did you use a shark shield in Molokai? I used an electronic ankle strap called the Electronic Shark Defence system, which works much the same as a shark shield, by emiting a magnetic impulse that irritates and short circuits the gel inside a shark’s nose and causes them to swim away, completely unharmed.


How much do you train? Describe a typical training week. A typical training week depends on work, unfortunately, so I swim when possible. I have a busy IT career at the moment, so I get about six miles of pool training at Tooting Bec Lido during the week on average but then I clock up the miles quite a bit on the weekends, when I head down to Dover.


What do you most like and dislike about open water swimming? I love the freedom of open water swimming. It’s just incredible geting out in the elements and testing my body and mind to the limit. But I also just love a great swim session, where I can go at my own pace and appreciate all that I have. What do I most dislike? The cold water when you hit the three- to four-hour mark in training. I fight very hard mentally to keep going, and try not to keep warm by swimming too fast, else I would get too tired. Finding a balanced rhythm with enough pace to keep warm is very important.


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