It’s never too late to pursue your dreams as alumnus Simon Olliver (1982-83) has found as he works his way through a series of open water swims. Last week Simon, age 51, became New Zealand’s oldest swimmer to cross The Channel between England and France, with nothing but his swim cap, goggles and his speedos.

The swim is 32km in a straight line but the tides made it 45km long and took Simon 11 hours 8 minutes. “It’s a pretty long way and I kept going by singing to myself. After six hours, fatigue set in and that’s the time that’s most dangerous in a long swim. Luckily I’d done a lot of preparation and I’m mentally tough, so I got over that hump. It sure was a good thing when I reached France though!”

Having been a swimmer from a young age, Simon eventually became bored with lap swimming and wanted to do more challenging swims. “In 2013 I swam Western Australia’s 19.7km Rottnest Channel, in 2014 I did Cook Strait and earlier this year I took on the challenge of Lake Taupo which was a 15 hour swim.”

What’s next for this Christchurch business consultant? “I’ve got my eye on California’s Catalina Channel for next year. In the meantime, I’ll continue my 6-day-a-week training At the Aqua Gym and in summer I’ll be back swimming in Lyttelton Harbour.” 

simon olliverSimon Olliver (Credit: Kirk Hargreaves/FairfaxNZ)

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