Jetty aquathon a winner for all

By GREG WHITE

NO pun intended but organisers were trying to test the waters for a repeat performance when they put together the inaugural NAB Coffs Coast Aquathon on the foreshores of Coffs Jetty this week.

So outrageously successful did the event become on its maiden voyage it's on the drawing board again for 2008.

"There were a few silent prayers muttered after the fierce storm the day before but race day dawned bright and clear," event spokesperson Jo Magill said.

"The Jetty was in picture perfect condition and some great race times were produced over the six-race series.

"On our first try we managed to attract 64 individual athletes and 19 teams aged from six years upward to accept the challenge to run, swim and run again, around the beach and parkland."

One high profile competitor in particular, Wade O'Malley, took on the NAB Aquathon to assist his preparation for next months All Schools National Athletics Championships.

"Wade didn't just compete in his own age event and short course, he teamed with very talented swimmer Nicola Bird for the long course race," Magill added.

"Together, on the 5km run, 1.5km swim and 5km run, they posted a phenomenal time of 50 min 10 sec.

"After that I'm certain triathlon scouts will be keeping an eye on both extremely talented athletes."

Local officials Norman Howard, Glen George and Cliff Lloyd headed up the registration teams assisting Triathlon Australia certify the entrants.

As a community fundraising exercise supporting Coffs Coast Autism Support Group, Magill said the event was a winner with over $3000 directed toward the fund to build an autism specific centre in the area.

"Our friends from NAB and the sponsors made sure competitors didn't go away empty-handed," she said.

"The random prize draw had poetic justice for Wade O'Malley when he won a mountain bike with Nicola Bird and Tom Ritcher looking the height of fashion in their new shades after the OPSM Short Course challenge.

"And Lyndal Green has an extra $200 to play with after guessing right in the 'How many beach balls does it take to fill a RAV4' competition."

The new event looks set to become a pipe-opener for the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort Ocean Swims around the same venue next February.



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