WHEN things get tough on the open water for Teagan Goolmeer and Eilidh Graham during the 2016 Rottnest Channel Swim, thoughts of their skipper Gennaro Rapinese will inspire them to keep swimming.
The Rottnest Island Authority employees are tackling the 19.7km swim for the fourth time and the first as a duo but have a renewed purpose this year.
Just months after the girls completed this year’s swim as a team, Mr Rapinese was diagnosed with leukaemia.
The 35-year-old father-of-two endured three rounds of chemotherapy over four months.
“The swim is nothing compared to what Gennaro went through with his recovery,” Ms Goolmeer said.
“He felt so sick through the treatment and could not imagine his little kids going through it.”
That is why team Buoy oh Buoy is raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation, to help children in particular.
Mr Rapinese will again skipper for the duo on February 27, while his sister Fiona Rapinese will support the team at the finish line.
Ms Goolmeer said the swim was easy compared to what their support crew of five went through on the day.
“Our support crew is so positive and make us lift to keep us going,” she said.
The duo is training at South Beach on the mainland and Thomson Bay on Rottnest Island three or four times a week, swimming up to 5km at a time.
“We’re doing double or even triple the amount of training we did as a team,” Ms Goolmeer said.
“I never thought I’d do a duo; the first time I did the swim I thought ‘never again’.
“But the madness gets in you.”
To donate to Buoy oh Buoy, visit here.