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February 16, 2015

Two East Gippsland women who will swim 20km from Nungurner to Paynesville are seeking community support to reach their fundraising target.

Chris Boucher and Sharon Blegg will attempt the East Gippsland Lakes Open Water Swim Challenge on Sunday February 22, starting at Nungurner Jetty.

The athletes are raising money to develop an Open Water Safety and Survival Day program, which will familiarise students in grades five and six with open water swimming.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has thrown his support behind the girls by making a personal donation of $200 – and even joined them for a quick training swim at Paynesville last week.

“The dedication of the girls to undertake the 20km swim is inspiring and I encourage everyone to show their support by making a donation, or being there to cheer them on at the end,” Mr Chester said.

“As a surf lifesaving volunteer, I know the importance of young people having basic water safety skills, which is why I felt it was important to highlight the work of Chris and Sharon.

“Most people, myself included, would struggle to swim more than a couple of kilometres in a pool, so to attempt 20km in open water is an incredible feat and I wish them well for Sunday.”

The proposed Open Water Safety and Survival Day program will be run and developed with Bairnsdale Aquatic and Recreation Centre and Lakes Entrance Aquadome and made available to all grade five and six students in East Gippsland.

Chris and Sharon aim to raise $10,000 and are seeking donations from individuals, businesses and community organisations.

Donations can be made via Credit Card or Electronic Funds Transfer to –



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