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Euphoric: Queenstown swimmer Liana Smith is all smiles after conquering the 40.2km Lake Taupo marathon swim last Friday

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

One down, two to go.

Queenstown swimmer Liana Smith completed her first of three marathon swims, dubbed the Triple Crown, by crossing the 40.2-kilometre Lake Taupo last Friday.

Setting out at 4.30am, the 24-year-old ran out of the lake 12-and-a-half hours later.

She was just an hour off breaking the women’s record for time.

‘‘I think it was just the elation — it was pretty overwhelming when I first saw that bottom come up again under the water and could see land underneath me, it was absolute euphoria, so I got pretty excited just to be on land.’’

While many hit the wall around the 20km mark, Smith says she battled during the first 10km, not helped by being covered in ‘‘bloody lake weed’’, which kept dragging her under.

‘‘It took a while to get into a good flow state, but once that happened it was all go.’’

She’s also raised almost $6000 so far for the I Am Hope charity, which provides critical mental health support to New Zealand youth.

And while she’s ‘‘chuffed’’ with her effort, she’s got little time to process it.

Her weather window for the 26km Cook Strait, which she’ll also swim without a wetsuit, is coming up between tomorrow and next Saturday.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz