Each January at Lake Taupo, New Zealands best gather for the Oceania 5 and 10km Open water Swim Championships. Swimmers of all ages and abilities are invited to share the weekend with the elite swimmers in what has become known as Epic Swim. Epic swim events include 500M, 1km, 2.5km, 5km and 10km. Five minutes after the elite 5 and 10km swim race has begun the Epic swims start and swimmers of all ages get to enjoy Open Water competitive swimming in one of New Zealands most beautiful and the largest fresh water lake.
Epic swim 2014 was held January 10 and 11th with over 600 competitors from the UK, Australia, Samoa, South Africa, Germany, Japan, America as well as New Zealanders.
With any open water event the organisers are at the mercy of the weather. This year, similar to last the weather gods were favourable and the lake conditions were stunning. The course runs along the lake shore providing spectators a terrific view of the entire race unfolding.
In the mens elite 10km race the first two laps of the four lap race were taken at a ‘leisurely’ pace lead out by Japans Yasunari Hirai. In the third lap the leaders upped the pace significantly and a breakaway of four swimmers established itself. The eventually winner NZ Kane Radford didn’t take the lead until the final 500M making for a gripping finish. His winning time of 1.58.12, with Japans Yasanari Hirai second 188.8.131.52 just two tenths of a second ahead of Australian Ridge Grimsey.
In the womans elite 10km the kiwi woman swimmers were aggressive and a group of 6 led out. The pace in the second half of the race started to tell and two of the elite woman lead pack fell back. Australia’s Sacha Downing took the win in 2.07.04, South Africas Sasha-Lee Nordengen second in 2.07.56 and New Zealander Grace Sommerville third in 2.07.57.
In the Epic 10km races the eventual winners were in the Mens Axel Wohlfarth 2 hours 14 mins and first time 10km swimmer Holly Cassin took the womans win in 2 hours 39 mins.
The Epic 10km marathon swimmers enjoyed crystal clear waters, sunshine plenty of crowd support. The course runs parallel to sure and is clearly marked with large turn buoys in each corner and orange buoys placed every 150M. It makes navigation as close to simple as one can expect in open water. It’s a good course for a swimmer new to marathon swimmer to experience their first 10km swim. The clear water gives plenty of reassurance to a nervous open water swimmer as you can see the bottom the entire way.
The Epic Swim finish line is set up just before the mouth of New Zealands longest river, the Waikato. This also happens to be right on the central periphery of the Taupo township. Everything is within walking distance. It makes for convenience, great crowds and support.
2014 Epic Swim results http://www.epicswim.co.nz/Results.aspx
If you want to be a part of Epic Swim next year why not join us http://www.realswimadventures.com/adventure-tours/epic-taupo/
You can also watch the thrilling finish to the mens 5Km Elite championship race http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOfSC_VBabs
This summary was also published in the only dedicated open water swimming magazine http://www.h2openmagazine.com/news/kane-radford-and-sacha-downing-win-lake-taupo/#sthash.52CNyF2G.dpbs