pair of swims history

The fast swim was first done as a proper swim in 2016 by the FS president.  in 2017 it was held as an informal event under the Koha Racing banner.  The long swim was done as a trial by the president in 2017.  Both events were held more formally under the FS banner in 2018.

Episode 1: [Fast Swim] Feb 3rd, 2018.  Participants: 21  Fatalities: 0  Injuries: 1 (hypothermia)  Finishers: 20  

The water was LOW in the Waiau (0.44 m below normal) and everyone got to 'touch' something during their journey down it.  No one was seriously hurt though, and most agreed that it was pretty exciting to always think you were about to come face to face with a giant submerged boulder.  The temperature was relatively warm however, and it was a fine day.  (Fun fact: The fastest time this year was nearly 30 minutes slower than the fastest result from 2017, when the river was over 2 meters higher.)  RESULTS

Episode 1: [Long Swim] Feb 4th, 2018.  Participants: 6  Fatalities: 0  Injuries: 0 Finishers: 6  

A great day on the water!  The field moved quickly across the lake (with a few extra swimmers joining for the first 3 km) and then into the river where most seemed to take it easy and 'float' through much of it, saving energy for the long haul in lake Manapouri.  A little NW'er picked up and pushed the swimmers home by the afternoon.  RESULTS

Episode 2: [Fast Swim] Feb 9th, 2019.  Participants: 14  Fatalities: 0  Injuries: 1(mild hypothermia)  Finishers: 14  

The water was LOW in the Waiau (0.25 m below normal), but not as low as last year. It was warm and overcast and we had nearly as many support boaters as swimmers. It was a good event with 3 seconds separating the first two swimmers, and only seven minutes separating the whole field.  One swimmer swam without a wetsuit. Everyone agreed that was pretty dumb, including the swimmer in question. RESULTS

Episode 2: [Long Swim] Feb 10th, 2019.  Participants: 8  Fatalities: 0  Injuries: 0 Finishers: 8  

Woo Hoo!  Tail winds all day, with building intensity.  Big crazy waves all the way to the finish and a river that finisher Jane Sutherland described as shit-balls scary.  Anything that can make a 60 year old woman say shit-balls must be pretty cool, right?  Yeah, we thought so too. RESULTS

Episode 3: [Fast Swim] Jan 11th, 2020. Participants: 12 Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Finishers: 12

Finally some good flow! (0.45 m above normal) As a trade off however we had unseasonably cold water temperatures (13 degrees C), such that many of the swimmers experienced the dreaded claw.  We had a good race at the front and some happy 'nervous' swimmers at the back. A handful of locals, a handful from the North Island (Wellington) and a token American that *almost* took this year's crown. All up another great year. RESULTS

Episode 3: [Long Swim] Jan 12, 2020. Participants 3 Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 1 (hypothermia) Finishers 2

A rough start to the swim meant almost an extra km of swimming across lake Te Anau and extra cold water due to the up-welling. This took out one swimmer. The other two (who happened to be friends from Wellington) pushed on, swimming the river together.  Both finished across an equally choppy lake Manapouri, one successfully completing his longest swim (time-wise) by more than double. The other becoming a double finisher of the long swim. Good times. 


Episode 4: [Fast Swim] Feb 27th, 2021. Participants: 30     Finishers: 28      Big-ass whirlpools: 1 (at least)

Lower flow again--about 0.31 m below normal. That and a few subtle changes to the river banks and bottom due to last February's floods made things even a bit more exciting that usual. Mainly this excitement was centered around a fun slide right into a hungry whirlpool. Most swimmers hadn't ever been in a whirlpool before.  Some of them never want to be in one again. Others enjoyed it so much they had several go rounds, just for kicks.  Everyone seemed to get a chance to practice their breath holding though. A win-win, right?


Episode 4: [Long Swim] Feb 28th, 2021. Participants, 7      Finishers: 6     Records Broken: 1

 An even lower river than for the fast swim the previous day was book-ended by two lakes with barely a ripple making for great starting and finishing conditions, with the meat of the long swim sandwich offering up a healthy serving of bruises at balloon loop. Only one swimmer made it through unscathed, the others used various 'obstacle avoidance techniques' with varying rates of success. A young gun from Dunedin took the crown from the old gun who'd held it previously, who in turn promises to come back next year to reclaim it.  I think the best rivalries are formed around arbitrary challenges involving unmitigable risks, don't you?


Episode 5: [Fast Swim] Feb 19th, 2022. Participants: 23     Finishers: 23      Close calls: Too many to count

Scraping the bottom in terms of flow. An amazing summer meant 0.56m below normal flows. Yikes. We had to go round the  right side of big rock rapid for the first time.  There was plenty of  fun to be had still, but a few more bumps and bruises than normal. The whirlpool was tame, but a few swimmers became human pinballs if they didn't take the right line.  There was at least a little bit of blood, but no one needed a transfusion, which was good, because we'd forgotten our kit back in town.  We postponed the start for the weather, which cleared up just in time to let our paddlers stay dry and let us enjoy our post event sandwiches in the warm sunshine. RESULTS 

Episode 4: [Long Swim] Feb 20th, 2023. Participants 10    Finishers: 10 (amazingly)     Records Added: 2

The young gun from Dunedin was beaten, but not by the old gun, but rather by an even older gun who is the oldest finisher to date, and apparently, really really fast. Some swam for the four-peat, others to more than double the time of their longest swim, and yet another because he wanted to be the first to complete all the FEAR events in a single year.  The latter surpassed the number of km's he'd previously swum (in his lifetime) somewhere in the middle of the river.  It sounds pretty crazy, but he's only 18 so it's not that big of a deal.  Kids these days.