Pool bout benefits sick kids

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013
Red Nose Day
JASON OXENHAM
CURE KIDS: (L-R) Former Olympic swimmer Moss Burmester and rising swimming star Eva Williams took on comedian Guy Williams in a swimming race to launch this year’s Cure Kids Red Nose Day appeal.

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Comedian Guy Williams isn't one to shy away from a challenge.

But he may have bitten off a bit more than he could chew challenging a former Olympian and an 11-year-old rising swimming star to a battle in the pool.

Williams donned his Speedos to take on swimming champion Moss Burmester and Sandringham youngster Eva Williams in a butterfly stroke race at the Mt Albert Aquatic Centre to launch this year's Cure Kids Red Nose Day appeal.

New Zealand's best sporting and comedic talents will be coming together in aid of the cause this year to support the appeal's "comedy versus sport" theme.

Williams laid down the challenge to any sports star willing to take him on.

Swimming star Burmester stepped up to the plate despite having retired in 2010.

Burmester was nine-time New Zealand champion, held the Commonwealth record for six years and still holds the New Zealand record for the 200m butterfly.

And yet this did nothing to dampen Williams' fighting spirit. Her strategy was simply to "start fast, do the middle bit fast and end fast as well".

But things didn't go quite so smoothly in the water for the comedian with Burmester and Eva overtaking him with ease.

"I may have been a little bit overconfident going into that. I think I overestimated by abilities slightly," Williams says.

"I kind of thought that I was at least going to make it to the end and I didn't really so it gives me a whole new level of appreciation for what these guys do."

Young swimming hopeful Eva finished a very close second to the former New Zealand champion.

"I was so excited to be asked to do it. I think it went really well - probably not so much for Guy though," she says.

Diving back into the water was an interesting experience for Burmester. "I haven't been in the water for a long time.

"I don't miss the early mornings and trainings but at the end of the day it was for a good cause," he says.

"I feel really honoured to be asked to be a part of it."

The cause is one close to many people's hearts.

Cure Kids was established more than 35 years ago with the aim of finding cures for the life-threatening illnesses affecting one in 30 New Zealand children.

The charity has invested more than $30 million in child health research to date.

Cure Kids chief executive Vicki Lee says Red Nose Day will be held in August but schools and other groups should start planning their events and sporting challenges now following the lead of some of the biggest names in comedy and sport.

"We've been incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing lineup lend their names and support to the campaign.

"Sport is such an integral part of our culture so we want to celebrate and show it takes good sports and red noses to cure kids."

Red Nose Day will be held on August 23.

Go to curekids.org.nz for more information and to register your school to take part.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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