In a time where Kiwi athletes are forced to think outside the box, Nicole van der Kaay decided to build one.

The Commonwealth Games bronze medalist and her dad, John, have built a makeshift pool so she can stay fit in the water during the nationwide level 4 lockdown.

Situated under the roof of a deer shed on their family farm in Taupo, the pool is just long enough for van der Kaay to swim while tied to the back wall by a bungee cord.

"It's not too big, it's more like a large hot tub," she said. "It's just long enough for me to move my arms around … but it does the job, definitely."


Van der Kaay thought up the radical idea when surfing the web for inspiration on keeping triathlon-fit from home.

She said her dad didn't take a lot of convincing after she jokingly pitched him the idea to build the now-called 'Deer-Shed Fish-Tank'.

"I was lucky enough that he was practical and that he could manage to make a pool out of nothing with basically scraps we had on the farm," she said.

"He probably gets a lot of requests from me but he enjoys building and creating something that helps me and is pretty cool to see anyway."

Van der Kaay is keeping up her bike fitness by cycling around her local area - something she knows she'll have to get used to with the European Tour and other international events now either postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic.

"It's been a long time since I've spent a winter here, so that's a big shift," she said. "But training goes ahead as normal - we just have to get creative in ways to keep motivated, to keep fit."

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games has been most detrimental to van der Kaay's planning.

However, she said she's focusing on the positives.


"I'm choosing to look at it as it's another year for me to get stronger, get fitter, I've recently had an injury so I get to build up a bigger base now which I'm quite pleased about," she said.

"It's gutting that the goalline has been shifted but I'm just doing what I can at this time."