Kiwi granny becomes oldest asthmatic to swim across Cook Strait

November 24th, 2007 - 3:59 pm ICT by admin  

Wellington, Nov 24 (ANI): A 47-year-old woman became the first asthmatic grandmother and the oldest woman to complete the 26 gruelling kilometres across Cook Strait.

Hana Wolzaks amazing feat was recognised during the 2007 Asthma and Respiratory Achievers Awards at Government House. This was her fourth attempt.

In the past eight years Wolzak, an asthmatic, tried three times to cover the distance but each time she had to abort it when asthma got the better of her.

The awards, organised by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, are held every two years to celebrate the achievements of people with respiratory conditions.

Eight people of all ages, from around New Zealand were presented Supreme Achiever and Rangatira awards by Governor-General Anand Satyanand.

Wolzak said that she was humbled to receive the Rangatira Open Supreme achiever and Rangatira Sparc awards.

“You shouldn’t see it [asthma] as a barrier. As long as you understand what asthma is and what it does to you, and you have a good management plan around it, the NZPA quoted Wolzak, as saying.

She said that she had become disillusioned after her third attempt at the swim earlier this year when she had an asthma attack four hours into it.

“It got to the point I thought maybe I just can’t do it, maybe it is a barrier, she said.

As for the fourth attempt, the police programme manager said that it was not at all a smooth sailing.

“It was a real struggle. The last 1500 metres I couldn’t breathe on my right side. I wasn’t getting air into my lungs and I was gasping. I remember my coach saying: `If you don’t push through this, you’re not going to make it’, she said. (ANI)

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