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Kiwis Unlocking Their Greatness in Swim to Paris Challenge

Challenge Wrap of the Swim to Paris Community Challenge (March 2024)

Throughout March, we took great pride in organising the Swim to Paris challenge as part of our Unlock Your Greatness campaign, aimed at getting the country to swim for health and wellbeing whilst supporting our top swimmers as they prepare for the upcoming trials for Paris.

As we get closer to the games, this challenge serves as a fantastic social endeavour with friendly rivalry between regions across New Zealand. With the distance from our capital in Wellington to Paris being 18,974 km, our regions worked collectively to cover that distance and help our top swimmers make the own journey to Paris.

As the weeks went by during March, the leading region rotated regularly. A late surge in the final week saw the Nelson Marlborough region cover the most distance towards Paris (2,408km) ahead of Auckland and Canterbury West Coast. The full results are provided below





Nelson Marlborough






Canterbury West Coast












Bay of Plenty



Hawke's Bay Poverty Bay





Some of our Aquablacks were contributing their distances across the month of March to support their region, such as Helena Gasson and Carter Swift both contributing 100km as they prepare for the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships starting next week in Hawke's Bay. It's worth noting this was less than a normal month for these swimmers, as they had started their taper toward the end of the month to freshen up for racing.

The health, wellbeing and social benefits of Kiwis being active in the water were on display, with many comments captured as the community logged their distances throughout the month. These stories have truly captured the essence of how swimming enriches and enhances people's lives in countless ways. We have shared some of these below to showcase what swimming means to the community.

"My husband & I both had strokes just over a year ago. I have recovered but had to teach myself to swim again. We are in our late 70s so in summer we would swim daily in the outside pool that is solar heated, but it has been cold (under 22 degrees) for nearly a week so my 1km swim is taking longer. I've contributed 10km!"
"I am swimming primarily for myself. This swim represents a transition period in my life where I lock in to achieve a singular goal. This goal requires extreme commitment and discipline, and this swimming challenge is a way for me to start to instil this discipline and commitment in another aspect of life."

Swimming NZ's Head of Participation & Events, Dale Johnson, is grateful for everyone getting behind the community challenge.

"Thanks to everyone who contributed to the challenge and pledged their distances for their regions. It's great to have an incentive that encourages active participation in the water and helps you to Unlock Your Greatness. Congratulations to the Nelson Marlborough region for taking home the bragging rights in 2024, we look forward to providing the challenge again in early 2025."

The opportunity to Unlock Your Greatness can continue through the winter. We have provided some additional resources to help you get involved on our website with tips, tricks and training plans to assist your swimming thanks to Aura Move (by Aquablack Laura Quilter). We also have the pool finder function on our website and invite you to enter the 2024 NZ Masters Swimming Championships from 8 - 9 June in Auckland as a great incentive to stay active in the cooler months ahead.

Don’t miss any of the action as our top NZ swimmers meet at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre from Tuesday 9 – Saturday 13 April as they try to Unlock Their Greatness and qualify for Paris. Tickets are available to watch from the best seat in the house and the livestream is available live and free on the Whakaata Maori YouTube channel.

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