University student George Glover, 20, will start swimming the 300km around Lake Rotoiti on Saturday.
A University of Canterbury student is diving into Lake Rotoiti on Saturday to begin a mammoth 300km swim to raise money for youth mental health.
George Glover, 20, has been swimming up to 80km a week divided between pool and sea, training to achieve his goal of raising $100,000 for New Zealand’s most at-risk youth through Mike King’s ‘I am Hope’ charity.
“This is by far the most challenging adventure I’ve dreamed up,” he said.
“When you’re out there, it’s just you that you can rely on and there’s no going back. I know I’ll be in the right head-space and give it a good crack.”
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Glover, a second year student studying psychology, sport science and commerce, aimed to swim 15 times around the edge of the Nelson Lakes National Park lake in stages over a week, finishing on Waitangi Weekend.
Mike King and former World Triathlon and Commonwealth Games champion Rick Wells will join him on the first day and guest kayakers and swimmers at other times.
“A big part of it is the challenge and making myself uncomfortable,” Glover said.
“But it’s also about getting people talking about mental health and the challenge of talking to others.
“My generation has been taught to listen, but listening is no good if people aren’t talking. It’s also important that people know how to respond if someone needs to talk – there is a real need to get those skills out into the community.”
Glover’s original plan was to swim up the east coast of the South Island from Christchurch to Blenheim, his home town, but unfavorable weather conditions made that impossible. He has opted for the lake swim instead.
In 2020 Glover raised more than $60,000 for ‘I Am Hope’ by becoming the first, and only person, to swim the full 61.5km length of Queen Charlotte Sound and back again, totaling 123km, five times the Cook Strait swim distance of Cook Strait .
Glover is also the president of Lads Without Labels, a University of Canterbury student-led club dedicated to improving men’s mental health in and around campus.
He has a Givealittle page, Black Dog Fresh Water. If $100,000 is raised from the swim, he said it would provide more than 800 counseling sessions for at-risk youth.