WHEN competitors hit the water in the 2008 version of the Novotel Pacific Bay Ocean Swims on February 24 there'll be a special group of youngsters keen to impress their regular coaches.
Training at the Coffs Harbour Olympic Pool under the guidance of head coach Iain Jones with the assistance of Dean Lawrence and Jorja Campbell, these young athletes are certain to be well prepared for the annual swim.
But to make matters more interesting, they've now issued a challenge to their mentors to take part.
Lining up in the 250m event, Dean Lawrence is hoping the youngsters he has coached will leave him well and truly in their wake while Jorja Campbell will tackle the 600m swim, confident her competitive swimming background will enable her to at least stay with some of her young rivals.
Since leaping out of the pool and into a coaching role, Campbell has had limited training opportunity but will step up her appearances in the water over the next fortnight.
Also putting his credentials on the line will be Iain Jones in the 2000m event.
Since taking over the management of the complex two years ago, Jones has put in a lot of hours with the swimming squads which has seen an increase in all levels from young up-and-comers to adults wishing to learn correct technique.
"In a lot of ways our philosophy at the Coffs Harbour Olympic Pool is the same as the Ocean Swims," he said.
"It's all about participation and having some healthy fun and we encourage swimmers of all levels to use our facilities, similar to the approach of organiser Mick Maley, who just wants everyone to enjoy the camaraderie and atmosphere the annual event provides.
"When some of the squad members suggested we should enter alongside them, we thought it was a great way to increase the interest of both swimmers and coaches."
Mick Maley said although the races on February 24 are rapidly approaching and entries continue to zoom in, time remains to commit to any of the three distances available.
"If you're not quite ready to tackle the 2000m race, why not test the water over 600m or even enter the 250m dash?" he said.
"There is a suitable event for just about everyone and although race winners are recognised, the day is more about gathering the community together to raise money for local charities.
"Every participant's name goes into the random draws for great prizes including holidays and accommodation packages."
The 250m charity swim has 3 x $500 random cash draws which will go to the lucky winners' nominated charity or school. For full details go to www.coffsoceanswims.com