A bit of history

As a teenager growing up in a town with no public swimming pool Kerry Mathieson was so obsessed with  swimming that she would sneak into hotels in Te Anau so she could do lengths of their pool.

Those pools were only around 15m long and the managers used to turn a blind eye; locals weren't allowed.

TheFiordland Community pool was built when Kerry was 16.

Swimming was a release for Mathieson, who didn't think of herself as particularly athletic or academic when she was younger.

Kerry Mathieson
Kerry Mathieson

Kerry had  been obsessed with swimming across the lake since she was tiny.

With her coach Eddie Liparts, Mathieson organised the inaugural swim across the lake in 1985.

Liparts was an uncle of Mathieson's best friend and would become a mentor and lifelong friend.

"He'd never done any swimming coaching, he was a mechanic and he couldn't even swim himself. He'd never coached anyone before and when I said I wanted to swim across the lake, he said 'I'll help'. In later years he told me he would stay up until two am reading books about swimming so that he could coach me." Kerry said of Liparts.

Fittingly, Mathieson won the inaugural race in a four-strong field which included Debbie King and Ian and Deidre Campbell.
Mathieson continued to take part in the Te Anau event for the next few years while on holidays from Teachers College.

Three decades later, the Across Lake Te Anau swim race she helped start will celebrated its 30th year on Saturday 7th February 2015. Kerry competed in the 30th anniversary race, placing 3rd female.