That’s a wrap for the 2021-22 season

And what a season we’ve had.

This season the ladies have ruled! 6 swimmers: four women, two men; 8 lengths of the lake swum: six by the ladies, two by the blokes.

Congratulations to Victoria Pinarello, Brian Gray, Dean Thomson, and Claire Hobson and welcome to the 40.2 club.

Little did I know at the start of the season we would have a longstanding record of the lake broken not just once, but twice. That record is for the fastest women’s double Taupo crossing, first set by Sandra Blewett in 1986 at 33 hours 21 minutes. The next time this feat was attempted was in 2019 by Eliza Cummings who came oh so close to completing her double crossing. We’ve waited 36 years, and this season I watched for way too many hours the little tracker as first Caitlin O’Reilly (28hrs 2min) in March, and then Rebecca Hollingsworth (27hrs 48min) at the start of April took on and conquered this huge double challenge. I was pretty much speechless then, and I still don’t have too many words to describe how impressed I am with these two women’s dedication and resolve to both swim over 80km, hold such a consistent pace throughout and beat the old record by more than 5 hours!

Huge congratulations to you both Caitlin and Rebecca, and I look forward to seeing what you both get up to next season.

Caitlin O’Reilly – Wow!

I’m not often speechless, ask anyone 🙂

But today, words almost fail me. I’ve just spent most of the last 28 hours watching a little tracker link, from the comfort of my couch. More than 80km of swimming, including through an entire night, and in what looked like some pretty good conditions.

28 hours in which Caitlin O’Reilly came back to the 40.2 challenge in beautiful Lake Taupo, and smashed out a double crossing. In doing so, she became only the third person to successfully complete the double Taupo. The only double crossing of the 21st century! She beat Sandra Blewett’s 1986 female record by more than 5 hours. And she was only 5 hours slower than our legendary marathon swimmer and now guide Phil Rush (1985).

There are so many things that impress me about this swim, and about Caitlin, the teenager with a steely determination that belies her youth. Top of the list – a consistent 3km per hour, every hour, even with food stops. It may have been my enthusiasm, yelling at my phone a bit during the last hour, but I’m sure you sped up again for the finish, which is remarkable.

Congratulations on this massive achievement Caitlin, and congratulations to your crew (Phil Rush, Mike Cochrane, Hana Wolzak…..sorry not sure who else was on the boat today)

and oh how I wish the Taupo yacht club knew how much I wanted their webcam to be clear today for the finish…. but well, no…. I can see a gaggle of people on the beach, and the IRB and the big boat, but only through the haze.

oh, and I’m only posting now, after the swim – as I didn’t want to jinx it by posting during this huge undertaking

I’m back

Hi there,

I took a bit of a break from posting in here – but I’ll be adding our successful summer of 2021-2022 swimmers to the roll of honour very soon – well, as soon as I receive your official times from Phil 🙂

Victoria Pinarello

Dean Thomson

Claire Hobson

Go Susan Sherwen !

Our 40.2 challenger today is storming her way across Lake Taupo, south to north, less than 10km to go.

Great swimming!

Today’s swim – getting close now ….and done

We’ve got Jono Ridler from Auckland in the big lake today. His south to north 40.2 challenge started in the dark just after 3am this morning.

He’s been keeping up a great pace and has 3km to go.

If you’re in Taupo today, now is a good time to head down to the beach by the yacht club and cheer him in. Less than an hour to go.

Congrats Jono and support crew, looks like you’re all done. Challenge complete, and finished in around 12hrs22min (unofficial). Fastest swim this season.

The 2020 season

I haven’t been able to keep up with all the activity on the big lake this season.

Already we have 5 successful swimmers completing their own long course 40.2 challenges.

Royce Evans kicked our season off with a successful south to north swim.

Then we had Bre-Re or is it Re-Bre and their fabulous tandem solo efforts (Rebecca Hollingsworth and Breanna Ward).

This was followed by our first ever Breaststroke long course swim (wetsuit) by Michael Wells – just wow!!!

And today we had Tom Cunningham in his fabulous pink togs on what looked like an amazing bluebird calm day.

This is shaping up to be a very busy swim season on Lake Taupo.

Double crossing attempt underway

Approximately 3pm yesterday afternoon (18th March) Eliza Cummings entered Lake Taupo at the northern end – the beach at the Taupo Yacht Club, to begin her double crossing.

What a challenge she is undertaking! Just over 80km to swim.

I’m sending calm weather vibes and warm water thoughts your way Eliza as you embark on this huge adventure.


Picture from the Taupo Yacht Club webcam approx 3.25pm – lovely looking conditions on the lake.

Update: 8.30pm it’s now dark outside and Eliza is halfway through her north to south crossing, 20km done in 5hrs 30min.

Update: Midnight, 9hrs swimming so far, 31.5km down, only approx. 9km to the end of the first leg and her halfway mark. Eliza is smashing this night time swimming!

Update: Halfway in this huge challenge was reached in just under 12hrs (unofficial), approx. 40.8km swum, and it looked from the tracker like Eliza just turned around and carried straight on into her south to north lap. Not much of a break/rest at all.

Update: ok, it’s daytime properly here on the 19th March, I stayed up way too late last night watching Eliza’s bleeping tracker. I can’t imagine how tired she must be by now. Current time is 9.45am, 18hrs 44min into her double Lake Taupo swim – 57.5km swum.

Update: 2.25pm What an incredible swim we are watching. Eliza has been swimming for 23hrs 24mins and has covered 68km. Can I call the last 12 or 13km the home straight? I hope she is soaking up all the good vibes on social media and from around the open water swimming world. Go Eliza !!

Update: 5.30pm Eliza has swept past Rangatira point, now in the bay proper 26hrs30min, 75.6km – only 6ish km to go. The sun is shining, there looks to be only a slight ripple of breeze on the water. What a magic swim!

Let’s remember the context here: the only successful female double length of Taupo swim was completed in February 1986 by Sandra Blewett. Her double took 33hrs21min.

Update: 6.30pm I’m scanning the Lake Taupo Yacht Club webcam hoping to see Eliza and her support crew now at 27hrs30min, 77.5km – the lake is looking so calm now, though there’s a bit more cloud cover.


Update: I’m sad to report that Eliza’s challenge was abandoned tonight, sometime after 7pm. I hope she’s doing ok, after an enormous and inspiring swim.

That looks like a pretty straight course

I hope it’s a great morning on Lake Taupo as we have a new challenger well into his big swim.

Just after 3am David Edgar started his 40.2 challenge at the Southern end of the lake and the tracker looks to be moving steadily. He’s 5hrs in and approx. 15km completed.

Update: Closing in on 9hrs swimming time and 25km done. Over halfway, and the island (Motutaiko) will be receding in his rear view, next up Rangatira point.

Update: 12hrs, 33km down, and now heading past Rangatira point.

Almost the last update: A jot over 14hrs and only 2km to go !! Come on David!

Lucky last update: David Edgar has completed his 40.2 challenge in an unofficial time of 14hrs 59min.

Congratulations David and welcome to the club 🙂

Another early start

Very early this morning Jacquelyn Schirmer started her 40.2 challenge.

At 1pm she is almost 10hrs in and steadily swimming her way towards the 30km mark.

The couple of photos I’ve seen were a lovely glassy calm day on the big lake.

All done, unofficial time 15hrs 18min

Congrats Jacquelyn, and welcome to the 40.2 club

Bronwyn is having a magic swim day

Very early this morning Bronwyn Copeland from Tauranga embarked on her 40.2 challenge.

She’s storming up the lake, currently 5hrs in and 16.5km swum already.

Go Bronwyn!

ok….now almost 30km done after 8.5hrs – a stonking great swim!

10.5hrs, past Rangitira point, less than 5km to go, soon she will be able to see the houses at Acacia Bay.

And she’s done.  I’ll admit I was glued to the screen today watching the blip of the tracker – fastest swim of the season so far.  Wonderful to see your success Bronwyn 🙂

Official time 11hrs 59min 05sec.