Despite an injury and an intensive training schedule, a Wanaka woman is diving head first into another solo attempt to swim the 45km length of Lake Wanaka to Roys Bay in remembrance of her late husband. Fiona (Fi) Fairbairn, 49-years-old, moved her swimming effort up to tomorrow at 6am due to forecasted weather conditions on Saturday.
Fairbairn attempted the same swim last March but had to stop after 12 hours and 37km due to hypothermia and choppy lake conditions. Her support crew and her son, Finn, made the decision to pull her from the water after fearing for her safety.
Fairbairn attempted the swim for her late husband, Darryl Fairbairn, who took his life in 2004. Money raised from her swimming efforts, along with her previously organised relay swims in 2007 and 2017, are donated to the Darryl Fairbairn Memorial Fund, which is used for youth counselling through Community Networks. Funding allows Upper Clutha children and their families to receiving counselling support in times of need.
Fairbairn said she is feeling fit going into Friday’s 15-hour attempt despite a broken toe, which somewhat curtailed her training.
“I have changed my feeding regime so I won’t be stopping so often in the first few hours when the lake is at its coldest; where I start is almost in the Makarora River and is very cold.”
Fairbairn hopes to complete her endeavour by swimming to the town’s log cabin by 9pm. She will be supported by a boat driver, a safety/medical person and three kayakers/swimmers.
Donations to the Darryl Fairbairn Memorial Fund may be made on www.givealittle.co.nz or dropped off to Community Networks.