In two months, they went from being almost unable to stay afloat to completing a 1km open water swim.
Communications and marketing co-ordinator Megan Hughes said she moved to Australia from Ireland three years ago with no swimming skills, just dim memories of childhood swims.
‘I had always swum like a princess, with my head above water,’ she said.
When an email arrived, asking staff to join a team for a corporate triathlon, Ms Hughes thought it the perfect motivation.
She roped in workmate Natasha Quintanilla , who was only a slightly stronger swimmer.
‘We went down to Leisure World and jumped in,’ Ms Hughes said.
‘Tash took off OK, but I didn’t get two feet along before I was swallowing water.’
After weeks of breaststroke, aided by a nose plug, Ms Hughes started freestyle and the pair began alternating the two strokes.
She said Ms Quintanilla had been a ‘motivational guru’ as well as training partner as race day drew closer.
They built up to 400m freestyle, 800m, then 1km ” but all still in the pool, and their coach, Leisure World’s Pam Vincent, decided they needed realistic preparation.
‘Pam, God love her, took us out to open water twice in the Saturdays before the race, on her own time,’ she said.
After finishing the race, the two women emerged from the water to banners brandished by family and friends.
The pair are still training once a week while they decide where to compete next.