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Malolo Swim Club eye Apolima Strait Crossing Competition

Finau Ohuafi and Noelani Day and Swim Coach, Mandy Hill (Malolo Swim Club) at Anthony Mosse Classic Competition

NUKU’ALOFA-March 27: 4:46pm(Nuku’alofa Times): The Malolo Swim club, based in Nuku’alofa, have set their eyes in competing in the Apolima Strait Crossing event which is a 22.3km Open Water Swim from Upolu Island to Savaii Island in Samoa on April 11, 2017. 

The club has planned on sending a young team between the ages of 13-21 years.

The team will compete against teams from New Zealand and Samoa and the event will also have International solo swimmers as well.

Team Tonga plans to make history accomplishing the following:

 1) Compete in the Longest Ocean Swim in the Southern Hemisphere (22.3km)

2) Be the youngest team EVER to compete in this event

3) Put Tonga on the map and be the FIRST Tongan swimmers to ever swim this distance as a team

The swim team consists of the following stellar athletes:

 1) Noelani Day, Female, Age 13  (from Holonga, Tongatapu)

2) Finau Ohuafi, Male, Age 16  (from Popua, Tongatapu)

3) Andrew Emberson, Male, Age 20  (from Pangaimotu Island, Tongatapu)

4) Penisimani Mohetau, Male, Age 21  (from Kolomotu’a, Tongatapu)

 They have the passion, the courage, and the determination to make history. 

The Aploima Strait has nothing “straight” about it as it is one of the toughest open water ocean swims due to the strong currents that run in between Upolu and Savaii islands. 

Swimmers in past swims have been swept up to 3-4km one way or the other due to these currents.

The second half of the swim is the most difficult, as this is where swimmers are already tired from the first 10km of the swim, but must still pass Apolima Island and are now at the mercy of the strong currents, with 12.3km still to go (for a total of 22.3km). 

Swimmers must battle it out both physically and mentally, and some say that the second half of the swim takes twice as long and feels twice as long. 

The Apolima Strait is a test of both physical endurance and personal character.

It demands true heart and spirit.

Swimming to Savaii Island is also significant as a mythical destination, as in Samoa it is known as the big island of legends and giants.

 Savaii was thought to be populated by giants called Sau’ai, and accomplishing such an epic swim is nothing less than legendary, an achievement that our young team of Tongan swimmers from Malolo Swim Club hope to achieve for Tonga.

The young swimmers are no ordinary athletes.

They train six days a week, and volunteer twice a week teaching other kids and adults how to swim. 

In the past year alone, members of Malolo Swim Club squad have achieved the following:

– Nominated to represent Tonga later this year at the Youth Commonwealth Games, Bahamas

– Represented Tonga at Oceania Championships, Fiji in the 5km Open Water Event

– Represented Tonga at the NZ 5km Open Water Championships at Lake Taupo

– Represented Tonga at the King of the Bays Open Water Event, NZ

– Represented Tonga at the Samoa Swim Series and winning Bronze in the Female Open Age category

– Attended the SC Fiji Regional Championships winning 16 Medals (Gold & Silver)

– Attended the Anthony Mosse Classic in NZ winning 2 Bronze Medals

– Swam the first inaugural swim from Faua Wharf to Fafa Island, Tonga (6km)

 The Malolo Swim Club believes in giving back to the community and the squad members are a true testament to this. 

They volunteer two days a week (on top of their full school schedules and 6 day training regiment) in town teaching swim lessons to children, and have also started a village outreach project in conjunction with Talitha Project (via European Union) in Holonga Village, that has steadily grown to include 50 children from Holonga, Alaki, and Malapo villages.

 Malolo Swim Club is grateful to Digicel Tonga for fully sponsoring two youngest athletes on the team, Finau Ohuafi and Noelani Day.

They stated that they are also grateful to Samoa Events Director, Seti Afoa for assisting the team, The Schuster Family (Samoa), Pangaimotu Island Resort, Fatai Kayak Adventures, and all other sponsors and contributors that have helped the team take on this dream challenge.

The young Tongan Team flies out on April 8, and will compete in the Apolima Strait on April 11, 2017.

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