Lake Taupo swim ‘pure joy’ says Jacquelyn
After 41 kilometres and 15 hours and 15 minutes of swimming the length of Lake Taupo, Mangawhai local, Jacquelyn Schirmer has swum her Everest.
In the early hours of Wednesday March 6 Jacquelyn, wearing only a regular pair of togs was being covered in engine grease and sunblock to protect her from the elements before embarking at 3.15am on the challenge of a lifetime, something she has been solidly training for the last two years.
From the south end of Taupo near Turangi, to the yacht club in Taupo, the distance is unimaginable to most. With the encouragement of Phil Rush, New Zealand’s most experienced marathon distance open water swimmer, as well as the support of loved ones and Mangawhai locals, Jacquelyn chipped away at the kilometres.
Surprisingly, Jacquelyn said swimming in the dark was a highlight, when the sun rose Lake Taupo became as reflective as a mirror. These perfect conditions meant she could power through the water taking only 10 seconds to eat chocolate chip cookies and drink a concoction of electrolytes every half hour. This meant less talking and more swimming than she was used to, but helped her reach her end goal, an endurance swim of huge proportions.
She acknowledges the critical guidance of her coaches Steve, John and Nick who constructed a training regime that included early morning squad sessions, long ocean swims in all conditions even through the night, hours throughout the winter in the ocean with no wetsuit and a cold adaptation plan involving ice cold showers and sleeping without duvets, even being covered in snow in her bikini.
At 6.30pm locals and supporters cheered for Jacquelyn as she crawled out of the water and onto the beach in front of the Taupo Yacht Club. After swimming for this long the body is not prepared to be upright so walking is often not an option.
“Honestly, every bit of that swim was pure joy, including the painful bits (and they were really painful), because I got to experience life at its extremes, and to see what I could achieve for me,” said Jacquelyn.
GPS tracked Jacquelyn throughout the swim, a huge distance.