IT TAKES a village to run a community event, especially an event that is still going strong after 20 years.
The annual Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims are on tomorrow and it's not too late to enter the iconic community event.
Local identity Mick Maley has been the chief organiser of the Coffs Ocean swims since their inception in 1998 and said the event has much to celebrate over the last 20 years.
One of the most significant is raising more than $200,000 for local charities and community groups including Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Woolgoolga surf clubs who have been providing volunteers to assist with water safety every year.
"We rely heavily on these surf clubs as the safety of our competitors in the water is paramount. The donations from the Ocean Swims help the clubs purchase much-needed training and rescue equipment to keep swimmers safe on the beach,” Maley said.
"The Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour Daybreak has also played a major role in ensuring the event's success over the years and still lends a hand with registrations, beach set-up and running the barbecue.
Other worthy beneficiaries over the 20 years include the Coffs Harbour Tri Club, Disabled Surfers Association, Coffs Coast Autism, Camp Quality, Life Education and Early Connections.
"Without the help of the volunteers from these organisations, the event would not be possible and we are extremely grateful for their continued support,” Maley said.
It's not too late to enter tomorrow's swims and age is certainly no barrier for many of our local swimmers.
Turning 78 this year, Woolgoolga's Ken Cook is entered in both the 600m and 2km events; and the eldest competitor, 80 year-old Patty Mills-Thorn, will be taking part in the 600m swim around the jetty.
Maley said many of the youngest swimmers will be competing in their very first ocean swim at age 8, which is the minimum age.
"Whether you're swimming, spectating or volunteering, we encourage everyone to come down to the Jetty Beach on Sunday morning to help celebrate the special 20 year milestone of the Coffs Ocean Swims,” he said.
The event starts with the 600m jetty swim at 8am, followed by the junior events and finishing off with the 2km harbour swim at 9.30am.
Late entries can be made on the day at the Yacht Club lawn. For further details visit www.villagesports.com.au.