Toughest swim

The Apolima Strait has nothing straight about it as it is one of the toughest open water ocean swims due to the strong currents that run between Upolu and Savaii, said Vila.

In the past, swimmers have been swept up to 3-4km one way or the other due to the currents.

The second half of the swim is the most difficult, because swimmers are already tired from the first 10km of the swim, but must still pass Apolima Island and will be at the mercy of the strong currents with 12.3km still to go for the total distance.

"Accomplishing such an epic swim will be nothing less than legendary, an achievement that our young team hope to achieve for Tonga," she said.

The team from the local Malolo Swim Club trains six-days a week and volunteers twice a week teaching other kids and adults how to swim in Nuku'alofa.

They have been nominated to represent Tonga later this year at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas.

In recent years, members have competed at the Oceania Championship/Fiji 5km open water event, the NZ 5km Open Water Championships at Lake Taupo, the King of the Bays Open Water NZ event, among other achievements.

They leave Tonga for Samoa on 8 April.