Full stream ahead
By GREG WHITE
TRAINING for the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort Ocean Swims takes place in some unlikely and out of the way places.
Like ... down at Bonville Creek, behind the base camp where Abigroup is constructing the new Pacific Highway upgrade.
Most lunchtimes the lads are happy to ignore suspicions there may be sharks, crocodiles, a platypus or two or even a slow-moving flathead lurking in the waters as they pound out the laps in preparation.
Everybody from surveyors, engineers and environmental specialists to foremen, machinery drivers and labourers, have been caught by the swimming bug.
A few of the boys took time out to demonstrate their strokes when the Coffs Coast Advocate came calling yesterday, including winter sport identities such as Coffs Comets utility star Asha Trounce and giant Coffs Rugby and Country Cockatoo prop forward, Hughie Campbell.
"At least the mud's warm when you first get in," Campbell said in lilting Welsh tones before copping a good-natured payout from the Aussies in the group.
According to Community and Communications Manager Matt Frodsham, Abigroup have contributed a sizeable sponsorship to the Coffs Coast Ocean Swims through their belief community involvement is an integral part of building highways and bridges.
"On any new project Abigroup contribute greatly to the local economy by employing a large number of locals and bringing a big workforce to the area," he said.
"When something like the Coffs Coast Ocean Swim is presented to us we are very interested as it allows us to support the healthy living and outdoors lifestyle that the Mid North Coast promotes in attracting visitors to the area.
"And the people in the team can have a lot of fun also."
As part of their sponsorship Abigroup is planning to enter a corporate team on February 24 next year.
"Some may not take up the offer of participating in the main 2000m swim around the Jetty but the guys involved are very keen to throw their weight behind the 600m swim around the Jetty for their chance to win some great prizes," Fordham said.
But first, he has to get his workers out of the water and back on construction duties.
"Now, for a few beers and a barbecue," they chorused, coming out of the creek.
The Coffs Coast Ocean Swims are part of the three event series beginning in Yamba on December 30 and concluding at South West Rocks on April 6.
Details and entry forms can be found on www.coffsoceanswims.com