We've got the power
By GREG WHITE
NEIL Power will be wearing three hats by the time the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort oceans swims begin at Coffs Harbour Jetty on February 25.
Power has been wearing a competitors hat and goggles since the venture began and now includes the sister events at South West Rocks and Yamba on his schedule.
He'll be wearing another hat as a member of the organising committee and the blue hat (and shirt) of employer Mike Blewitt Ford, one of the key sponsors of the Coffs swims.
"Swimming is a passion right across the year but the main training begins around October," he said.
"I take part in the squad sessions at Coffs Olympic Pool and probably train nine or 10 kilometres each week.
"And don't forget the work done in the ocean, swimming back and forth across the harbour."
While Power is an active triathlete, he believes competitors who aren't as experienced will still find the event attractive.
"This series is a great idea," he said.
"You can enter every event or just the one suiting your ability.
"If some of them are like me at my age, you don't want to flog yourself."
The Jetty event offers swim distances of 250m (charity swim), 600m and 2000m with terrific holiday packages to be won by three people completing the three swims in the series.
Yamba's date is December 31 with South West Rocks held on March 25.
The secret to success, according to Power, is finding clear water and getting the rhythm right.
"The first time I entered I was hit on the nose soon after the start and broke my goggles," Power said.
"It's a bit daunting going the full distance when something like that happens but I made it without problems.
"When you're in the water and finding the going tough there are always people about to encourage you to make it and help out if needed."
For safety, surf craft including boards and life saving personnel are stationed every 10-15 metres to assist.
"It's a great experience for any age," Power said.
"Many use it as their one big motivator of the year and it's great to be out there hearing your family cheer you on.
"Unless of course, the family is taking part alongside you."
Entry forms are available on www.coffsoceanswims.com or from any local swimming pool. Further details are available from Mick Maley on 6652 7684.