Living in such a digitally saturated age, it’s inspiring to meet three children who spend more time swimming in the ocean than they do on a smart phone.
Anna Lepua, Alex Dunkley and Mackenzie Rogers started swimming as toddlers and between the ages of six and nine, developed an unwavering passion for the water. They progressed from the swimming pool, to Surf Lifesaving, to competitive ocean swimming and more recently even to water polo. Basically they live and breathe the water.
The trio started their ocean swimming with the Harcourts Cooper & Co Beach Series 250m Junior Ocean Swim and after working their way up to top of the podium, they set their sights on the longer distances.
Alex has never been one to shy away from the open water; easily completing the Auckland Harbour Crossing at just 10! Last season he showed his speed, beating out many seasoned swimmers twice his size to place 2nd overall 1000 metre swim. After taking out the Junior 250m swim, Anna and Mackenzie overcame their nerves and posted some top 1000m, 1500m and 2000m swim times.
While it’s daunting for the children’s parents to watch their kids competing in such demanding open water conditions, Alex’s father explains that “Helping conquer that fear, to see that smile, that’s magic; it’s gold.”
And what advice do these three give to kids making the switch from the pool? Build confidence by “playing in the water in all conditions”, says Mackenzie. Slowly grow your distance, train regularly and above all have fun.