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184 Main Collins Street | West victoria 8007

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Lake Tahi

Lake Tahi: a comprehensive water skills program

Welcome to our swim offerings on Sunday mornings at Lake Tahi/Roto Kohatu Reserve, Sawyers Arms Road.

For the longest time we’ve been shouting from the rooftops about how important it is for adults to gain confidence in the open water. Not only is it the only way to get specific skills for your triathlon or open water swim, it’s the ONLY way to build essential water safety skills and get a good dose of health and wellness. You can gain a massive jump in your water safety skills simply by doing some practice in an open water environment. It’s the best way to enjoy a swim in a more natural environment, with the additional health and wellness boost you just don’t get from a swimming pool.

We realise there are many barriers to gaining open water experience, therefore we have decided to do our absolute best to ensure you have the opportunity to gain varied experience this summer with a comprehensive water skills program that covers the key outcomes for open water swimming:


We have completely revamped our Lake Tahi program for this summer. It runs November through February. Check the swim activity available and date carefully in the following table.

Open Water Coached Group Lake Swim Fitness Swim Racing
Sat 11 November 2023 Sun  5 November 2023 Sun 19 November 2023
Sun 10 December 2023 Sun 21 January 2024 Sun 14 January 2024
Sun 28 January 2024 Sun 25 February 2024 Sun 11 February 2024
Sun 03 February 2024

To learn more about each activity, scroll down.

Coached Open Water Group; 0645 – 0745
Dates; 11 Nov, 10 Dec, 28 Jan, 03 Feb

This one-hour coached group in the open water provides swimmers a safe setting in which to take their swimming from the pool to an open water environment to support their swimming development, water safety and environmental skills, water confidence, and swimming progression for open water swimming events.

This squad is for swimmers;
* transitioning from the pool to open water
* keen to develop their open water skills
* who enjoying training in a supportive group environment.

1x Lake Tahi Coached Group Pass = $18

1:1 Open Water Swim Lessons; if you would prefer a one-to-one swim lesson with a coach in the open water environment, Dan and Chloe will have one 40min session available each at 0800, after the coached squads on the above dates. These lessons are bookable through our TeamUp calendar, or email info@fitandabel.com.


Lake Swim Fitness; 0630 – 0830
Dates; 5 Nov, 21 Jan, 25 Feb

We have removed the cost to you for these three sessions. Simply pay the Outdoor Swimmers Club fee of $2, and swim at the lake for FREE.

You’ll need to build some fitness and skills in a pool first. The best measure is being able to comfortably swim 1000m in a pool and practice your sighting and floating/treading water. If you need help with these skills, please ask us; info@fitandabel.com.
If you are ready for the open water then come and try lake swim fitness this summer – we assess you on your first swim and can answer questions about the swim and the set course we use. Then swim as far or as little as you like while meeting like-minded people in a wonderful open water environment.

These sessions aren’t competitive nor timed, they are for you to experience the water at your own pace in your own time. We setup, manage and provide safety for two courses on the lake; a 400m loop and a 900m loop, allowing you to choose your preferred distance, progress at your own pace and add variety to your training. It is compulsory to wear a tow float for the Lake Fitness sessions. 


Swim Racing; with the RealSwim Race Series no longer able to be held in Corsair Bay on Wednesday evenings, we will hold three race scenarios at Lake Tahi to provide you an opportunity to gain race experience in an event group environment and gain a race time for your chosen distance; 3km, 2km or 1km. You can practice not only your swimming race plan, but also your race preparation plan (gear, timings, pre and post hydration and nutrition) to set you up well for your summer swimming events. We’ll be keeping it simple but you will have wave starts, be timed and results will be available.

Race Dates:
Sunday 19 November 2023
Sunday 14 January 2024
Sunday 11 February 2024

Race Start Time: 0645
Race Cut Off: 0815

Entry Fee: $30



  • For the Coached Open Water Group, please be ready for the session at 0640.
  • Last entry into the water for Lake Fitness is 0800, and last lap start is 0815.
  • Swimmers must pre-register online or at the lake for either activity. We suggest you pre-book for the squad as numbers are limited.
  • When booking online for the Coached Group purchase the “Lake Tahi Coached Group Pass” then register for the session. Once purchased, the swim pass is valid for the 2023/2024 season only.
  • When booking online for Lake Swim Fitness purchase the “3x Lake Tahi Swim Fitness Pass”, then register for the session/s you want to attend. Once purchased, the swim pass is valid for the 2022/2023 season only.
  • When you arrive on the day, before entering the water, you must sign in with a staff member, and then on exiting the water you must sign out.
  • There are some Sundays throughout summer that Lake Tahi activities aren’t operating due to other events, please check the dates above carefully. On one occasion we will be operating on a Saturday, instead of Sunday, due to a Jet Ski competition taking place.
  • There will be no lake sessions over the Christmas/New Year period
  • Minimum ability for Lake Fitness swimming is 1000m continuous in the pool. This is to ensure you feel comfortable whilst in the open water. If you are not yet at this level we recommend attending our Waltham Pool coached groups or having a private lesson with Dan or Chloe. We can support your development and help you build to a capable open water level.
  • Parking is available next to the lake. The access gate will be open from 0615. Access is off Sawyers Arms Road, please look for the entranceway you see in the photo, it is past the main stone entrance into the reserve.



  • The Lake is only open for swimming at certain times, when FitandAbel are present and running one of the above activities. Please be aware of these times and ensure you adhere to them. Swimming outside of the set times jeopardises the access of all open water swimmers to the Lake.
  • You must either register and pay online, or register and pay on the day, before getting in the water for either activity.
  • Swimming routes and procedures must be adhered to at all times please
  • All swimmers must wear a bright cap: Orange, Pink, Red or Yellow
  • The long course is approximately 900m in length for one lap, and the short course is approximately 400m in length for one lap.
  • The Lake Fitness swim route is anti-clockwise, it runs directly between the four Fit&Abel/RealSwim buoys.
  • Minimum age for Lake Swim Fitness is 13 years on the day. Please contact us (info@fitandabel.com) if you have a younger child who is keen to swim.
  • Minimum age for Coached Open Water Group is 16 years on the day. Please contact us if you have a younger child who is keen to swim.
  • All other buoys are permanent fixtures in the lake and should be used as secondary navigation aids only.
  • All swimmers must sign out of the water at the completion of their swim.
  • Nervous swimmers/first-timers are encouraged to speak with staff before their swim.
  • Swim Safety is provided. It is an additional safety layer but not a guarantee of your safety.
  • You should be fit and comfortable before undertaking these swim activities at the lake. We also encourage you to swim with a buddy, any time you swim in the open water. If you require assistance roll onto your back and raise one arm in the air. Stay calm.
  • Staff instructions should be obeyed at all times for your safety and for the safety of other swimmers.


For any inquiries about our Lake Tahi swimming activities, please email: info@fitandabel.com

A big thank you to the Canterbury Jet Sport Club and the ECAN Harbour Office for enabling this fantastic sharing of open water space.

Join us for open water swimming activities this summer!
RealSwim Adventure Tours
Email Us today to learn more about the RealSwim Adventures.
Fiordland RealSwim Adventure
Fiordland RealSwim Adventure
Waitaki Valley RealSwim Adventure
Waitaki Valley RealSwim Adventure
Swim Retreat at Mt White Station
Swim Retreat at Mt White Station



The below is hidden on all screen sizes. Its being left here for the 2019 winter season and when requested by Dan, it can be dragged back into the section above where it will display.