NUKU’ALOFA – March 31: 9.30am (Nuku’alofa Times): Fourteen year old (14) Noelani Day, of the Malolo Swim Club, departs today with her Coach and support Team for Samoa to prepare for her upcoming challenge, the Apolima Strait Swim.
The event is going to be a 22.3km solo swim from Upolu Island to Savaii Island in Samoa, to commence next Friday, April 6, 2018.
Noelani, from Holonga Tongatapu, will make history by becoming the first Tongan (male or female) to ever swim this distance, as well as the youngest in history to ever attempt the Apolima Strait.
Noelani in her Digicel outfit
She will be joining 12 other International Open Water Swimmers from around the world (USA, NZ, Australia, and India) to take on this momentous challenge next week.
The Apolima Strait is known for it’s strong currents that occur once you swim past Apolima Island, about half way into the swim.
Coach Vila Day said swimming the Apolima Strait takes both incredible endurance and both mental and physical fitness, as it involves swimming in the open ocean where you are exposed to all the elements and must deal with whatever conditions nature deals you at that moment.
“Swimming the Apolima Strait can be compared to swimming from Tongatapu to ‘Eua island (approximately 20km), however the distance of the Apolima Strait is slightly longer (22.3km),” Vila said.
Noelani has been fortunate to have been sponsored by a Digicel Tonga to take part in the Apolima Strait challenge.
She started swimming with Malolo Swim Club here in Tongatapu since she was eight years old and instantly fell in love with swimming as a competitive sport.
She did her first ever Open Water swim when she was eight years old and swam 1.8km.
Noelani has competed internationally in New Zealand on the Auckland Harbour Crossing (2.9km) in 2015, Samoa Swim Series (3km) in 2016, King of Bays NZ (2.8km) in 2016, Fiji Oceania Championships (5km) in 2016, FINA NZ Open Water Championships (5km) in 2017, and Apolima Strait Relay Team (22.3km) in 2017.
Other highlights of her achievements has been representing Tonga at the Commonwealth Youth Games, Bahamas 2017 and at the Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games, Turkmenistan, 2017.
Noelani has challenged herself to participate in the upcoming solo 22.3km Apolima Strait swim to promote Tongan women and youth in Sports.
She hopes to help to inspire all Tongan girls and youth in sports to chase after your dreams no matter what obstacles they encounter.