Matt flying Coffs? flag
COFFS Harbour's Matt Werrell couldn't quite believe he had won the 2005 Coffs Coast Ocean swims 600m male event on Sunday.
In fact, when 17-year-old Werrell left the water, he was still trying to work out where all the frontrunners were, not realising he was the leader of the men's division.
"Normally I don't do that well in the 600m, I usually do better over the longer distance," Werrell said.
"When I got out of the water I looked around thinking the others had come out somewhere else.
"I was pretty stoked when I realised I had won."
Werrell finished second overall in the 600m, with Brisbane swimmer Kate Cherry just pipping him for the title.
He then narrowly missed the daily double, finishing fourth in the male division in the 2000m swim.
But he wasn't complaining.
"I've been entering pretty much every year since 1999 and fourth was my best result (for the 2000m)," he said.
"Winning the 600m did give me hope for the 2000m, but I noticed there were a few good swimmers not in the 600m, so I knew they were saving themselves."
The 2000m crown went to 14-year-old former Coffs lad Taylor Hardy, who triumphed in a time of 27.32 minutes.
Hardy, 14, moved to the Gold Coast with his parents three years ago.
Cherry, 17, made a clean sweep of the women's events for the second year in a row.
"My aim was to win both again, but I have been sick lately, so I was pretty happy to do it," she said.
"Beating all the boys in the 600m was good as well, that was unexpected."
Event organiser Mick Maley rated the event a big success.
"We had about 720 starters, but I know more than that entered," he said.
"I don't know how many pulled the pin because the conditions were very testing.
"It was choppy all day, but it was a good challenge.
"I think the conditions brought the black line swimmers back to the open water swimmers."
Maley said entry numbers were up from last year, with a big roll up of out of town competitors.
"I always set the target very high and although the numbers weren't as high as I had hoped, we were up about 150 from last year," he said.
"It all sits very well for next year and I have already had a lot of sponsors commit to back up again.
"I also really want to thank the Coffs Coast Rotary Daybreak club and Coffs Harbour Triathlon Club for their help."