Swimmers brave the mighty Murray for the biggest of freezes

By Andrew Johnston

SEVEN Echuca-Moama mates have braved 9°C temperatures, swimming in the Murray River for FightMND's Big Freeze, raising critical funds to help find a treatment and cure for motor neurone disease.

Last month, on June 8, Moama's Trav Hore joined six others in swimming from the Onion Patch to the Victoria Park boat ramp.

“It was pretty insane. It's absolutely freezing out there,” he said.

“The real challenge I found was when we actually finished the swim and had to get out. Your hands are frozen, your feet and face are blue. It's not particularly pleasant, but it was a great thing for all of us to be involved in.”

Trav said it was Harry Kervin who put the mates to the test, challenging them to the freezing swim as part of FightMND's Big Freeze.

“It's one of those things you really don't want to do, but when you put it into perspective, it's not a big deal,” Trav said.

“When you look at the challenges people with MND have to face up to every day, what we were going to do pales in comparison. This isn't going to be the end of the world for us as a group, it's going to be an unpleasant swim, but it's nothing in the grand scheme.”

The swim was more than 1 km long but Trav said it felt a lot longer.

“The first 200 m was just awful,” he said.

“If your body could talk to you, it would be yelling at you for what you were doing to it. But after a while with the wetsuit on you adjust and it isn't as bad, and the swimming cap traps a lot of the heat in as well.

We all love things like triathlon and Ironman, so everyone who was there was a strong swimmer,” Trav said.

“But adding the temperature on top of the fact none of us were overly swim-fit didn't help. But getting through was a good feeling.”

The swim was a one-off because the Big Freeze was cancelled, but Trav said he wasn't ruling out going again.

“You never say never to something like this,” he said.

“It lined up perfectly for this year, maybe it happens again in the future.”