Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Disabled swimmer to swim Cook Strait

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Italian distance swimmer Salvatore Cimmino is about to take on the Cook Strait to promote disability awareness with the help of a couple of Kiwi sporting legends.

Salvatore had his right leg amputated at the age of 15 due to cancer and began swimming later in life for therapeutic reasons before turning it into a passion for raising disability awareness.

If successful, Salvatore will be the first amputee to swim the Straight and he will also complete the first October crossing.

He decided to take on Cook Strait at the urging of his good friend, former All Black and Italy rugby coach John Kirwan, and is being supported in the swim by eight times Cook Straight conqueror Philip Rush.

"This was John's idea - my project was to swim around the world. I said I was going to Australia and JK said why not New Zealand," Salvatore said through an interpreter.

"JK has a great love for disabled people - there is a great affection and connection and friendship between us - I want to share my story with the vibrancy and values of the New Zealand people - just as I have shared my friendship with JK - and to highlight the strength of people with disabilities."

Salvatore said he was honored to be supported in what would be a challenging swim given early spring conditions by the great Philip Rush.

"I know this will be a huge challenge for me but Philip gives me great confidence."

Rush says the likely water temperature - around 10-11 degrees - and the air temperature will make it a very difficult crossing.

"But Salvatore has a great strength of character which he will need to swim one of the most challenging pieces of water in the world, at this time of year."

The team is aiming to make the attempt sometime between 7-11 October.

All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.