Meet the Swimmers & Crew!


Ben commits to at least one great adventure every year to challenge his body, mind and spirit. The importance of staying active is paramount and the competitive spirit is still strong. Ben relishes the opportunity to enter cool events around the world whilst giving back to the community at the same time. Completing Race Across America in 2023 was just the beginning... apparently.

Ben started swimming from an early age at the Wharenui Swim Club in Christchurch and despite having completed 5 Ironman Distance Triathlons, and representing New Zealand in 1992 at the World Champs, getting back to race-pace swim fitness is going to be a big challenge after spending most of 2023 on the bike.

Ben’s day job is the founder of Blue Leisure Group, which consists of various companies across different aspects of the Health and Fitness Industry in New Zealand and Australia.


Aaron is a father of two, aged 53 and has spent his time as a full-time Auctioneer for the last 13 years and residing in Auckland.

The older he gets, the better he gets despite being defined as an athlete over 35 years ago. After Race across America, Aaron is no longer faced with a rotund physique or slowing mobility while struggling to climb stairs and is focused on using this to give back to his community.
As an ex-competitor swimmer, Aaron is looking to dust off the speedos and complete another challenge by swimming the strait of Gibraltar and then hopping back on the bike for the 5 passes tour. Over life is about living without FOMO. He loves the motivation and trepidation that these challenges bring all while raising money for a great foundation that gives so much to the New Zealand community.



Race Across America last year was a bonding and memorable experience for all 13 who participated (riders and crew) which had a significant impact on us all. I'm keen to continue physical challenges with my mates for as long as I can, so when the opportunity to swim Europe to Africa was put on the table, it was a no-brainer. This challenge however will be additionally special as I share it with my son Sam (who may get sick of waiting for us old men in the swim).

Overall I am just grateful that as I enter my 60th year, I don't just participate but I go hard and enjoy the sports I love for all they offer. It is even better when you can share these experiences with those you love. I'll keep going for as long as I can.



Sam joins the team as the youngest member, but much like his dad Mark, Sam is an incredibly strong athlete. Here's what he had to say: ''Putting myself on the waiting list a few years ago, I was so unsure if I was serious about swimming the Gibraltar Strait that when I got through, I had forgotten I was even waiting. This, however, made me realise this could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance: who knows where I will next be if I put my name down and have to wait so many years ago''.

Back then, Sam was a triathlete living in Melbourne. Fast forward a few years, practically the swim is much easier as he now resides in Europe. However, long gone though are his triathlon days, so this swim will be a challenge to motivate and return to the water, working on his upper body strength. Living on a different continent from the rest of his family, the chance to do something like this with his dad, Mark, is a bucket list moment to make special memories like this count.

Along with the chance to raise some money for charities in need, it's a no-brainer to go through with it!



Kathy joins the team as the wife of Swimmer B, (B= Blakey) and mum of Sam. When it comes to her why, it’s easy as it’s more of a “why not”. When opportunities arise that involve travel, sport and socialising she is a person that puts her hand up. Getting to share this experience with her number 1 mate – Blakey and her son will be such an adventure and she is thrilled by the ‘Epicness’ that this event will provide!

Kathy will be providing the support of crewing the team along the way and cheering them on from the shore while arranging the logistics and operations of the team. Effectively, Crew mum!