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The water was a bit chilly but it did not daunt about 80 Wanaka Lake Swimmers Club members who celebrated the start of the open water swimming season on Monday.

The Southern Lake Swimmers Club, based in Queenstown, also opened their swimming season at the weekend.

Lake Wanaka was 14degC at 9am yesterday, but those who swam with the Southern Lakes club on Saturday said Wanaka felt tropical compared to the 11degC they experienced in Lake Wakatipu.

Conditions were calm, putting smiles on many faces despite “ice-cream headaches” reported by those who had not swum in the lake since last summer.

Among the hardy crew who swim in the lake all year round was club president Camille Gulick, who directed proceedings before taking to the water for a fast blast around the buoys.

Ms Gulick said she was excited to see everyone ready to swim at the beginning of the season.

She presented gifts to members Liz and Wayne Millow for helping at the Wanaka Watersports Facility before and after weekly Sunday swims during the 2020 season.Wanaka’s swim buoy lane is found at a popular family beach in Roys Bay, opposite the watersports facility.

The buoy line is a five-knot boating zone.