Epic swim on the Murray

CHALLENGE: Hunter Helmick, the first American to swim the length of the River Murray. He's pictured at the start of the last day, March 15, at Goolwa. Photo: Kaylene Maalste.
CHALLENGE: Hunter Helmick, the first American to swim the length of the River Murray. He's pictured at the start of the last day, March 15, at Goolwa. Photo: Kaylene Maalste.

REGION – Ever thought of swimming the length of the River Murray?

A 25-year-old man has become the first American to do so, finishing his 120-day journey at the Murray Mouth on Wednesday, March 15.

Hunter Helmick swam 2412 kilometres on his epic journey, which he completed with his dad Eric swimming alongside him for 732km of the way, his brother Tuck piloting a boat, and crew members from around the world.

“He said nobody can do it alone – he’s put in all the effort swimming but he’ll be the first to say he couldn’t have done it without the team behind him,” Eric said.

“It’s been an amazing journey for all of us.”

From the day the Helmicks left Corryong, Victoria on November 5, 2016, until the final day, Hunter had come across challenges including wind, rain, 40-degree heat, fluctuating water temperatures, nearly six kilograms of weight loss, a series of severe ear infections, minor chaffing on his back and shoulders, and wearing through two wetsuits.

But, Eric said, Hunter kept pushing on to prove that young people can do anything they set their mind to.

“I think he’s been really challenged but he’s had an attitude that he can do it and he will do it,” he said.

The Helmicks are part of Team Help, which inspires youth and raises awareness to the high rate of suicide in the younger generation.

“We would like to see the heart of Australia turn towards the youth and really support them, a lot of youth seem beat down,” Eric said.

“We’d like to see that shift across the country to see them saying, “I can do this” if they stick to it.”