Cook Strait relay record attempt falls short

It’s 16 nautical miles across, often cooler than the English Channel, subject to strong tidal flows and home to large and potentially dangerous marine wildlife, so of course people want to swim across. It’s been crossed 94 times by 84 individuals from 11 countries according to the Cook Strait Swim website but, as far as we know, never by a two-person relay team.

Cook Strait Attempt

Swimming the Cook strait

On 17 January 2016, two swimmers – Danny Hanlon and Bernard Stone – attempted to become the first pair to complete the crossing in relay format but were forced to abandon their swim 3.6km short of their target after almost nine hours in the water. A combination of strong currents, increased tidal flows and fog forced them to pull out.

“Early on in the day, we were making great progress and looked set to reach the other side within nine hours and set the new two-man record,” says a disappointed Hanlon.

However, the swim wasn’t without merit: “Highlights included each of us swimming with a pod of up to 15 dolphins, chasing around us at incredible speeds and clearly looking to see what was going on. Bernie also encountered a giant pack of jellyfish and I was circled by a huge Albatross, looking to have a go at my toes!”
Swimming the Cook Strait has become increasingly popular since its inclusion in the Oceans Seven. The record for a solo crossing is 4hrs37m set by Casey Glover from New Zealand in 2008. Stephen Redmond, the first person to complete the Oceans Seven, took more than 12 hours.
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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.