Goggles on for Aussie Swim

By Seti Afoa 24 January 2017, 12:00AM

Calling Aussies, friends of Australia and local swimmers to join in the Aussie Swim on Thursday. It just so happens it is also Australia Day on that day. 

The Swim is the initiative by Samoa Events (SE) and is more to do with acknowledging Australia’s contribution to SE’s growth in the six years it has been operating in Samoa. 

It makes sense to run the Aussie swim on Australia Day, to acknowledge the huge contribution and difference Australia has made to SE from its inception. Not only with funding in the past and also in participation numbers. 

In fact, there are more Australians taking part in SE’s local events than there are Kiwis. It has always been that way. In the area of funding, AusAid has been a huge contributor in the past in the way of two volunteers and also initial funding through AusAid programmes. That was in our first three years.

I’m a Samoan Kiwi, and I learnt Open Water swimming while in New Zealand where I lived for a long time. But as of yet, I am yet to fit in a funding model within NZ Aid. So Australia has been of huge assistance to SE and I want to honour that.

Not to be outdone though, there is also a Kiwi Swim planned for early February. 

We cannot have an Aussie Swim and not a Kiwi Swim. It is also NZ’s national Day on February 6th when the Tiriti o Waitangi was signed between Maori and Pakeha. Whatever pathway history takes us, the cornerstone for modern Aotearoa New Zealand is that day in 1840. Waitangi Day can be a contentious day for Kiwis, I think it is the same in Australia on their national Day. But there are a lot of good things to celebrate. And that is the spirit of the two swims, in celebration of all that is good. 

That was borrowed that from the Australia Day tag line. 

For Samoa Events, the Kiwi Swim is one event during the Year that can be uniquely Kiwi. It is the same for the Aussie Swim. Hopefully Australians and Kiwis will take ownership of their respective dedicated races. 

 Wouldn’t it be wonderful for a Kiwi to win the Aussie Swim? That would be like the Black Caps winning test cricket at the MCG. 

The likely scenario is that one of our young local swimmers will lead the swims. Samoa now boasts an excellent swim programme with the Samoa Swimming Federation and the three local clubs, Tanifa o le Vai, Le Amosa and Saoluafata Village Triathletes.   

Australians by nature grow up swimming in a pool and are active from an early age. Kiwis are slowly catching up in that area. Which is why on the local scene in Samoa, there are more Aussies participating in Swims, runs and triathlons than do Kiwis who live here. But come the major international events such as the Samoa Swim Series, Warrior Race and Ford Tour of Samoa, it is 70/30 in favour of Kiwi participation. It mirrors in a way Samoa’s Tourism intake from our two biggest partners in the world. 

The Aussie Swim on Thursday is hosted by Taumeasina Island Resort (TIR). There are two distances, 2km and 1km. The 2km race starts at 7am and the shorter distance 15 minutes later. 

The early start allows workers to have an Aussie Swim in the morning and still be on time to start work. If they stay for the hot coffee and breakfast, then they may be a little later starting on Thursday. 

It is also early so students can make the swim before starting school that day. 

Swim course for the Aussie Swim is in the Vaiala Lagoon, a return swim from Taumeasina to Matautu for the longer swim and halfway to Vaiala beach and return to Taumeasina for the 1km swim. 

The swim is timed with the high tide on Thursday morning. There will be a little bit of resistance in the first leg, and then a downhill swim back to the finish at TIR.  

Taumeasina staff will be on the water on three kayaks for water safety. There will be drinks and refreshments at the end of the swim. 

Entry is $30 inclusive of light breakfast and coffee, or $20 Entry only. Student charge is $5 each. 

By Seti Afoa 24 January 2017, 12:00AM

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