7 Apr 2016

Sport: Savai'i Games underway in Samoa

7:32 am on 7 April 2016

The inaugural Savai'i Games is officially underway with the Upolu - Savai'i Swim.

Eight competitors will swim 22.3km across the Apolima Strait in what is the longest swim in the Southern Hemisphere available to non-elite swimmers.

Event organiser Seti Afoa said the race is a milestone.

"And you can't get a bigger opening to a Games than that...the interest in the Savai'i Upolu swim is actually much bigger than that but given the lead-time for preparation a lot of people that were hoping to come up for the swim will now have to come next year."

"They basically have to qualify for the swim - the cut-off for that was in January. You have to swim ten kilometres in under three hours. We had qualifications in Auckland and some in Australia - pretty much any 10 km race you can swim that and your official time will be taken into consideration" he said.

The first contingent of swimmers are in the water: Bronwen Burmester, Todd Pritchard, Kate Sinclair, Team Samoa and Team Savai'i are in the water, with Abby Armstrong and Phillip Ryan due to begin shortly.

All competitors are expected to finish by 4pm local time.

The route for the Savai'i swim.

The route for the Savai'i swim. Photo: Supplied