AG awardees team up to tackle swim

By AG STAFF 4 June 2014
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Former AG Society awardees combine forces to swim and paddle across Australia’s largest artificial lake.

In their search for novel challenges, 2012 AG Society awardees Kim Hands and Lachie Carracher have proved the Aussie spirit of adventure is alive and well.

“We wanted to start a tradition of the Young Conservationist and the Young Adventurer doing something together in the year they were awarded,” says Kim, who was recognised for her conservation work with the Stop the Toad Foundation. “We also wanted to highlight links between conservation and adventure.”

With this goal in mind, they planned to take on the 20km Rottnest Channel Swim in February 2013, with Kim swimming and Lachie, a white-water kayaker, paddling alongside her. However, the duo hit a major snag during training.

In late 2012, while on a diving trip in Tonga with fellow AGS awardee Don McIntyre, Kim was paddling beside Kylie Maguire when Kylie was bitten by a shark. After Kim pulled a bleeding Kylie into the inflatable kayak and radioed for help, the risks of the venture hit home. The idea of an ocean swim became incredibly daunting.

Kim came up with a new plan. Registrations were opened for a 20km Lake Argyle swimming challenge. Australia’s largest artificial lake (AG #113) – and the home of a healthy population of freshwater crocodiles – the Argyle is in Western Australia’s Kimberley, where both Kim and Lachie’s award-winning projects were mostly set.

With Lachie by their sides, Kim and her relay partner Amy Gates completed the swim in May 2013. The finish was exhilarating, says Kim, not only for the sense of achievement, but also because the bar has been raised for future AG Society winners.