In the swim
EVEN an armada of bluebottles couldn’t deter the regular swimmers now in training at Coffs Jetty for the 2011 Beachside Radiology Coffs Coast Ocean Swims.
This hardy group known as the Walruses have been swimming informally every Sunday at the Jetty for more than eight years and members are building up to peak fitness for the annual event on Sunday, March 6.
Up to 25 swimmers have been meeting each week – ranging in age from 12 to 76 years – and can be seen rain, hail or shine in the waters across the harbour, in defiance of those annoying bluebottles.
Most of the Walruses swim for the exercise and social contact rather than competition.
The Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour Daybreak has been associated with the Swims for the last ten years and 2011 is the 13th anniversary.
This March the event will again welcome the guys from Bondi Rescue. They made an impromptu appearance last year which promised to increase the profile of the Ocean Swims this time around.
Registrations are now open online from www.coffsoceanswims.com.
The three divisions include the 250m charity swim, 600m short course and feature 2000m event.
A great range of prizes will be distributed including random draws of cash and holiday packages, meaning any participating swimmer has a chance to win.
One of the biggest events of its kind in Australia and a long-term charity fundraising project for the Rotary Club, last year’s event was successful enough to distribute direct benefits totalling $17,250 to worthy local recipients.
These ranged from Life Education to several surf life saving organisations.
Numbers have usually exceeded 900 starters but the organising committee has long dreamed of breaking the magical 1000-plus barrier and are keen for this to happen in 2011.
The event has always attracted top flight competitors including former Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Hayley Lewis and recently crowned Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronWoman champion, Courtney Hancock.
In 2010, Queensland ocean race specialist Michael Sheil created history by taking out all three events on the one day for the first time, as well as claiming the charity swim for the third straight year, to crown himself the ‘unofficial Emperor’ of Coffs Jetty.