Dan Abel announces 34k Round the Rock Rarotonga marathon swim

Outdoor Swimmer contributor, swim coach and water advocate Dan Abel, will attempt a 34km swim circumnavigation of Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands. The swim window starts 17 September and Dan is raising funds for Autism Cook Islands.

Dan came up with the idea of the Rarotonga circumnavigation in March whilst in the middle of the Cook Strait in an IRB with NZ Hall of Fame swimmer Philip Rush where they were supporting swim coach Chloe Harris on her solo crossing. The swim follows on from Dan’s successful Channel Solo in July, a busy UK summer of swim coaching with Swim Trek and the elite 2020 squad at Tooting Bec Lido and marks the start of a busy summer of swim adventures in New Zealand.

The Rarotonga swim has only been attempted three times in history and only two of those swims were successful. The first to complete the swim was New Zealand Hall of Fame swimmer Meda Mckenzie and the second was Cook Island native Don Carlaw. Both these swims took place in the 1980’s and took over 17 hours.

This will be the first attempt in over 30 years.

Round Rarotonga Swim March 1985

Following the swim path less travelled requires significant planning and teamwork, and embracing the unknown. In addition to the physical and mental demands, Dan and his support crew will navigate unknown tides and all manner of sea life on this challenge, which could take anything from 9-18 hours.

The swim will be conducted in accordance with Marathon Swimmers Federation rules, including not being able to touch the boat or anyone else throughout the swim and only wearing swim cap, togs and goggles.

On Top Boiler 2

Dan testing the water around Rarotonga

Open water swimming is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and the Cook Islands Marathon Swim will help to:

  • Reconnect Australasia and the Pacific with its rich distance swimming heritage and inspire a new generation of open water swimmers; and
  • Raise funds for the Cook Islands Autism Society. The health benefits of open water swimming include improving body awareness, reducing anxiety and building confidence. In 2016 Dan co-founded the Fit and Abel Aqua Juniors special needs swim programme, to empower young people’s lives both in and out of the water.

Good luck Dan – have a fantastic swim!

You can follow Dan’s journey via the tracker, Twitter and Facebook pages and donate via this page #roundtherock.


The big blue Cook Islands style

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