Up for the challenge: Southern Lakes Swimming Club members


Queenstown-based Southern Lakes Swimming Club’s (SLSC) getting a pool of swimmers together for a 24-hour fundraiser for St John.

It’s set the ambitious goal of collectively completing 10,000 lengths — or 250 kilometres — of the Alpine Aqualand pool between noon on October 31 and noon the following day.

Club president Sheena Ashford-Tait says they were looking for a pre-season event, and committee member and club lifeguard Martin Martinez suggested a 24-hour pool swim.

‘‘I think to start with we all thought it was a bit mad but then we thought, ‘no, actually we can do it’.’’

Martinez approached Alpine Aqualand, which is gifting SLSC exclusive use of one lane, and also putting on two lifeguards for the event.

Ashford-Tait, whose club had 60 members over the past year, says they’re also asking other swimmers to help out, including members of the Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown swimming clubs as well as the local water polo club.

Local free divers have promised to contribute some under-water laps, which they’ll  complete in an adjacent lane.

Ashford-Tait says many of her members aim to knock out 20km themselves.

For safety’s sake, only SLSC members will swim through the night.

‘‘A lot of us are planning to take our sleeping bags and camping mattresses and sleep on the pool side for a few hours and then get up and swim a bit more.’’

She says they chose St John ‘‘because, as swimmers, you never know when we might need help’’.

‘‘And some of our committee members have had personal experience [of St John].

‘‘Everyone can see it’s a great thing to support.’’

The club’s aiming to raise at least $2500, or $10 a lap, and has set up a Givealittle fundraising page — ‘24-hour-swim-for-st-john’.

St John personnel will also rattle donation buckets at the event.T register for the swim, email