Club to mark 50 years since Foveaux swim

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012

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The Oreti Surf Lifesaving Club will celebrate the 50th anniversary of John van Leeuwen's first swim crossing of Foveaux Strait on February 9.

The club will swim a relay from Stewart Island to the mainland, followed by a dinner that night.

The club previously swam a relay across the chilly waters of the strait to raise funds for the construction of Splash Palace.

Van Leeuwen, of Invercargill, a 28-year-old meat trimmer at the time, completed his crossing in a marathon 13hr 36min and was driven around Invercargill in an open-top car as part of the celebrations. Since then only five others have completed the feat.

Anyone interested in attending the 50-year celebrations should contact John Fogarty.

Foveaux Strait swim crossings: John van

Leeuwen, February 7, 1963 (13hr 36min); Meda McKenzie, March 20, 1979 (14:00); Belinda Shields, March 24, 1984 (9:53); Michael Quinlivan, February 13, 1985 (9:41); Sandra Blewett, February 11, 1988 (12:5); Todd Utteridge, February 15, 1989 (8:40).

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- The Southland Times

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