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Margaret Sweeney Challenge coming to Taupo

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Turangi Turtle Pools’ popular swimming challenge will now also be held at the AC Baths.

The challenge is named in honour of Margaret Sweeny, who represented New Zealand in breaststroke the 1950 British Empire Games and who was the first person to swim the length of Lake Taupō. Ms Sweeney made the crossing from south to north in 1955 in a time of 13 hours and 39 mins. Entrants in the Margaret Sweeney Challenge must swim 25 or 50 kilometres over a three-month period, with those who finish the former distance receiving a certificate and those doing the 50km distance being awarded a medal. Entrants can choose how much and how often they want to swim, in order to compete the distance they choose, so the Challenge is suitable for all fitness levels and schedules.

Turangi Turtle Pools supervisor Suzanne Watson said the challenge has been held for five years now and was originally devised as a way to encourage people to get out and exercise in the cold winter months. "In the middle of winter, it’s hard to get motivated to go out in the cold and get moving, but it’s always warm here at the pools and we started the Challenge to give people a bit of motivation to come down and get active. Turangi locals have really embraced it and we’ve had more than 200 people complete the Challenge. What’s really great to see is how many people come in from the cold looking fairly glum but leave with a smile on their face - there’s nothing like a bit of exercise to lift the spirits!" she said.

Business and operations manager Scott Attenborough said that it was great that the Challenge would also be held in Taupō. "We’re really excited to have the Challenge coming to the AC Baths. People often think of our district’s pools as a summer thing, but with our thermal heating they really come into their own in winter. And this is great for everyone - you don’t have to be a competitive swimmer or super fit, you can just do it at your own pace. You can also nominate a friend to take up the challenge and work on it together."

The Margaret Sweeney Challenge begins in Turangi and Taupō on July 1, but entrants can sign up at any time by visiting the reception desk at either of the pools. Entry to the Challenge is free.

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