Among the strong contingent of local swimmers expected by organisers of the Bay of Islands Classic this Saturday are a local couple who love swimming together and with their friends.
Shane and Alyssa Cross will take on the I'm Going Long 3.3km distance in the penultimate sixth event on the 2016/17 New Zealand Ocean Swim series.
The Kerikeri husband and wife both completed the I'm Going Long event at the Legend of the Lake in Rotorua on February 18. Afterwards, Alyssa said the Blue Lake was one of her favourite swims on the series mostly because it is not held in salt water like the other six legs.
"I love the fresh water. I'm very buoyant."
She enjoyed the Rotorua swim, although the grey conditions - it poured with rain throughout apparently - prevented the Blue Lake from showing off her best summer colours. Alyson finished the 3.5km distance in 1.29.03, 636th out of a field of 677, 293rd/316 female swimmers overall, and 14th/16 in the female 60-64 age group.
Shane completed in 1.57.29s, 675th spot, 360th/361 male swimmers overall, and 25th/25 in the male 60-64 age group.
Alyson was quite impressed with her husband's effort since he is relatively new to the ocean swimming experience, taking it up only about three or four years ago.
She also emphasised the main highlight for many of the ocean swimming series was the social aspect.
he pair were accompanied by four friends to Rotorua, two of whom swam the I'm Going Long at Blue Lake.
The Crosses always swim together and are part of the Sunday afternoon swimming club at Paihia foreshore.
The couple are also planning to swim at the World Masters Games in Auckland later this year (April 21-30), among a field of 25,000 participants from 100 countries competing over 28 sports and 45 disciplines.
"Swimming is really a sport you can do whatever age, from really young to really old," Alyson said.