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They crossed the Pacific . . . in the Olympic Pool

A record number of participants in this year's Swim The Distance swam a combined distance of 13,600 kilometres — enough to cross the Pacific Ocean.

Run by Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti and the OIympic Pool Complex staff, the 10th anniversary Recreational Services Swim the Distance Challenge was the biggest one yet.

Almost 300 people registered for the event and 142 of them completed the 45.5km distance — the equivalent distance of swimming from Midway Beach to Mahia — via laps of the Olympic Pool.

The 2020 event, held over eight weeks, ended last week and final distances were announced at a prizegiving on Sunday.

Deb Reeves was top individual with a challenge record 440 kilometres, surpassing Lyall Evans' 404km in 2018.

She was nearly 110km ahead of second-placed Viki Lee-Taylor (330.5), with Steve Webb (273.6) third.

Deb and Steve were also members of the winning team, The Originals, who swam a combined 1381.8km.

Kaukaunutz Smurfs were second on 886.8km and Comet Cool Flippers Ooga Boogas were third with 837.3kms.

Ooga Boogas team member Noah Wright won the major spot prize at the prizegiving.

He was “really stoked” to win a Samsung 64GB S9 phone, supplied by the major sponsors, because he had been saving money to buy his first phone.

Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti active communities events adviser Debbie Hutchings said this year had “really great participation” and they thanked all the swimmers and the many sponsors.

■ Swim The Distance Challenge 2020, individual leaderboard: Deb Reeves 440km, 1; Viki Lee-Taylor 330.5km, 2; Steve Webb 273.6km, 3; Tiana Paea 245.5km 4; Treva Rice 230km, 5; Michelle Rennie, 221.9km, 6; Jodiesha Kirkpatrick 199.7km, 7; Damon Meade 199.2km, 8; Craig Green 186.2km, 9; Holly Fisher 178.5km, 10.

Team leaderboard: The Originals 1381.8km, 1; Kaukaunutz Smurfs 886.8km, 2; Comet Cool Flippers Ooga Boogas 837.3km, 3; The Dolphin Divers 417.8km, 4; Te Kopu Wai O Olympic 352.07km, 5; Turanga Health Mokos 318.95km, 6; Cedenco Foods 306.95km, 7; The Gisborne Herald 306.05km, 8; Eric the Eels 300.6km, 9; Nukutere 296.05km, 10.

water winners: The winning team in the Swim The Distance 2020 Challenge were The Originals, who collectively swam nearly 1382 kilometres over the eight-week event. Their team included top individual Deb Reeves, who swam a record 440km. Standing (from left) are Deb Reeves, Damon Meade, Jorge Buelna, Craig Green and Steve Webb. Front are Michelle Rennie and Leigh Sheldrake. Picture supplied