MYSTICAL: Coffs Harbour's Mermaids, a group of women who swim in rain, hail or shine, will compete in the 2018 Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims.
MYSTICAL: Coffs Harbour's Mermaids, a group of women who swim in rain, hail or shine, will compete in the 2018 Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims. Rob Wright

Mermaids to return to water for Ocean Swims

COFFS Harbour's annual Ocean Swims are just over three weeks away.

The different distances on offer take into account all ages and swimming abilities - from those new to ocean swimming to those who spend a lot of time in the water.

Speaking of those very much at home in the water, the Coffs Harbour Mermaids are just one group of locals who have been training regularly for the event.

Rain, hail, wind and shine the Mermaids meet every Saturday to swim around across the harbour.

The Mermaids first came together a few years ago when two individuals were training for an Ironman event.

Their motivation was two-fold: to overcome their fears of open water swimming and to keep one another company.

Initially they chose not to venture beyond the Jetty but as the group grew, so did their confidence and soon they were covering the 1500m to the boat ramp and back.

The Mermaids range in ability from those accustomed to following the black line in a pool to experienced ocean swimmers.

The group now includes up to 40 regular members with ages ranging from 10 years to over 60.

Anne Grundy, one of the original Mermaids turns 70 this year and the group will celebrate her birthday by jumping off the jetty.

The group often ventures to other locations and recently completed a 2.5km swim from North Wall around Little Mutton Bird Island, and along Park Beach. They have also been sighted at Woolgoolga and Arrawarra Beaches.

Spokesperson for the group, Sarah Rasborsek said: "It's a great way to start your weekend and always more enjoyable being surrounded by other Mermaids.”

As the name suggests, the Mermaids are female but Mermen are welcome by invitation only, so long as they are happy to provide post-swim treats for the group to enjoy with their coffee.

The Mermaids will not be the only group in the 2018 Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims.

Other groups include the Walruses and Coffs Jetty Swimmers, a group from the council who swim around the jetty during their lunch breaks.

The 2km Harbour swim, 600m Jetty swim and the 150m and 300m junior swims will be held on Sunday, April 8 and cater for all abilities and age groups.

For more about the Ocean Swims and to enter, visit www.villagesports.com.au.



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