Rob Hutchings, a 44-year-old Wānaka resident, has recently announced that he intends to swim the full 338kms of the Clutha River in five to six days next week, and will be completing the swim out of pure passion for the activity. The swim is scheduled to start from around 7:30am on Thursday February 20, and Hutchings hopes to reach the ocean before his time off work is up.
“I am doing this as a personal goal,” said Hutchings, “I have been sponsored two Blueseventy wetsuits for the swim, but I have no other gear or cash sponsors… I'm new to New Zealand, so I am still working my way around the country having various adventures of swimming, cycling and running, and when I heard that the Clutha River was certainly deep enough and had enough water flow for a river swim challenge, I booked a ski trip to Wānaka in August 2019 and also had a 'scouting mission' on the Clutha to see if the swim was feasible.”
Even the obvious obstacles of the various dams on the river aren’t getting in Hutchings’ way, “We have pre arranged exit and entry points on either side of the dams. Each point is about one kilometer up river from the dam and about the same down river from the dams.”
“Although I am the only one who is swimming, I'd love some community support,” added Hutchings, “I invite walkers, runners and cyclists to go along side the Clutha River trail, and I would really appreciate it if anyone would volunteer to take video footage and photos from the trail… I'm not a film maker so I don't expect to create a cinematic masterpiece, but if anyone in the community is a film maker of some kind, I'd love an offer of volunteer help.”
Find out more information on the swim’s details on Facebook.