From OpenwaterpediaSandra Blewett is an open water swimmer from New Zealand who successfully completed the Catalina Channel from the California mainland to Catalina Island on 7 September 1977 in 10 hours 58 minutes 20 seconds. She was also the fifth person in history to cross the Foveaux Strait in New Zealand on 11 February 1988 from Bluff to Stewart Island in 12 hours 50 minutes.
Foveaux Strait (Māori: Te Ara a Kiwa) separates Stewart Island/Rakiura, New Zealand's third largest island, from the South Island. The strait is a rough and often treacherous stretch of water. The strait is about 130 km long (from Ruapuke Island to Little Solander Island), and it widens (from 14 km at Ruapuke Island to 50 km at Te Waewae Bay) and deepens (from 20 to 120 m) from east to west.
Successful swimmers include:
1. John van Leeuwen, 7 February 1963 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 13:40)
2. Meda McKenzie, 20 March 1979 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 14:00)
3. Belinda Shields, 24 March 1984 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 9:53)
4. Michael Quinlivan, 13 February 1985 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 9:41)
5. Sandra Blewett, 11 February 1988 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 12:50)
6. Todd Utteridge, 15 February 1989 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 8:40)
7. Wayne Evans, 11 February 2013 (Stewart Island to Bluff in 9:20 with a wetsuit)