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The Cook Strait probably was my toughest personal challenge. New Zealand’s natural forces already forced my to abandon twice. Hence it was incredibly exhausting and challenging to return to what had already been the place of two unsuccessful attempts, mentally and physically. However, deep down I knew I could make it. And finally, all the effort, energy, sacrifices and hard training paid off: I swam the Cook Strait – as the first female German swimmer and fastest european woman. In a time of 6 hours and 33 minutes I reached the finish line of Arapawa Island on March 1st. This swim definitely was the greatest challenge of my life so far.
The Cook Strait is notorious for a reason: the channel between Ohau Bay on the northern and Arapawa Island on the southern main island of New Zealand is one of the world’s most treacherous. Depending on the strength of the current, swimming can be delayed by several hours. In 2019 and 2020, I experienced myself how hard one has to fight to make progress in the stormy and unpredictable sea.
However his time, I was determined to finish. The training was extremely hard and lasted for several months: swimming up to six hours per day plus individual strength training and physiotherapy. All of this preparation took place in the Atlantic, dealing with two-meter-high waves and a water temperature of 16 degrees.
I had been looking forward to this swim for so long, but nature had its own plan and send me a cyclone, strong winds, an earthquake, and endless rain. In my mind I already saw myself in the plane back home, but then I got the chance to try again! After a more than three weeks wait, checking weather apps by the hour, the time was nigh on an early morning on March 1st. I gave it my all right from the start since the afternoons forecast looked very poor. The first three hours flew by, and I enjoyed the swim to the fullest. However, halfway through, the wind increased significantly, the waves grew bigger and I had a tough fight. But then I saw dolphins and felt like I was part of the ocean. At some stage I realized that I would make it, and I began to cry with relief. When finally algae and sand appeared underneath, all the pressure fell off me – that was the happiest moment of my life.
If this channel has taught me one lesson: you have to go out there and try. And if it doesn’t work out in the end, that’s okay – as long as you don’t give up. You can achieve your dreams if you believe in yourself and fight hard for your goals.
Completing the Ocean’s Seven is becoming more tangible: the sixth of overall seven stages has been reached. What’s left is the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, which I intend to swim this September. Then, I’d be the 22nd person in the world and the first German and youngest female swimmer ever to accomplish this.