Hannah inspires others to swim
THE annual Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims are fast approaching, with just 11 days until race day.
The event is one of the longest running sporting events on the Coffs Coast and attracts swimmers from ages eight to over 80, across all abilities and levels of experience.
The event is celebrating its 21st birthday this year and while there are some swimmers who haven't missed the swim since it started, namely Michael Tonks, Dave Alexander and Greg Swan, there are some taking the plunge for the very first time.
Coffs Harbour local Hannah Legge, 18, is diving in for her first competitive ocean swim.
A year 12 student at St John Paul College, Hannah learnt to swim when she was very young but she has never competed in an ocean swim before.
Hannah will be tackling the Junior 300m event on Sunday, April 8 and can't wait.
"I've been in swimming races at school carnivals, but this will be my first ocean swimming race," she said.
Asked where she enjoys swimming the most, Hannah responded: "I would much rather swim in the ocean than the pool."
"I have been training at the Jetty on a Wednesday, even when the waves are a bit bigger. I am looking forward to going in the swimming race and having my family there watch me," she said.
Cheering the loudest will be her younger sister Tiana, who is also a keen swimmer.
Being in year 12, Hannah has a busy schedule.
She also does personal training strength work once a week.
She started when she had to wear a boot while a broken bone in her foot was healing and like most things she does, thoroughly enjoys it.
Hannah is also a keen surfer and started with the Mid North Coast Disabled Surfers in 2010 and is a regular participant.
Hannah doesn't have any well-known swimming heroes but admires some of her peers at school including Maisy Duff, Michael Ylinen, Oscar Edwards and Chloe Bulloch.
Chloe will be swimming alongside Hannah in the 300 metre event.
Hannah inspires many, including her peers, friends and her family, and she might just inspire you to join her for one of the swims on offer on April 8.
Hannah's advice to anyone thinking about doing the swims in the ocean is simple.
"Be brave, get out there and enjoy yourself while doing it," she said.
The Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims are on Sunday April 8 at Coffs Jetty Beach.
On offer are a 600m swim around the jetty, Junior Swims (150m and 300m distances) and a 2km swim across the harbour.
All events are supervised by qualified surf lifesavers from Sawtell, Coffs Harbour and Urunga Surf Life Saving Clubs.
Each club benefits from the proceeds of the event along with the Disabled Surfers Association and the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour Daybreak.
All participants in the junior swims receive a ribbon when crossing the finish line and also go in a draw for some great random prizes including swimming pool passes, Vorgee swim packs and accommodation and restaurant vouchers.
For more information and to enter visit villagesports.com.au.