Ocean Swims ready to celebrate 20 years
COFFS Harbour's iconic Ocean Swims will be celebrating their 20th anniversary on April 2.
Entries are now open and organisers encourage all those who have participated previously, as well as those who have never done an ocean swim, to enter and be part of the celebrations.
The event has once again secured Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Brooke Hanson, OAM, as its ambassador.
Brooke is planning on taking part in the swims as well as starting the kids' races and handing out prizes.
The 2017 Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims cater for all ages and abilities with the 2000m Harbour swim, the 600m Jetty swim and the 150m and 300m junior swims.
Local identity Mick Maley has been the chief organiser of the swims since their inception and said the event has much to celebrate over the past 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.
Event sponsors Mike Blewitt Ford, Quality Inn City Centre and Stocks & Hogan have also been supporting the Coffs Ocean Swims since day one, along with Pacific Bay Resort.
"The event has been so fortunate to have had these loyal sponsors for so long, ensuring its longevity," Mick said.
"We also have three swimmers who have taken part in every single ocean swim, Michael Tonks, Greg Swan and Dave Alexander. We look forward to seeing them line up for their 20th anniversary swims."
Mick said the biggest change he has seen since the swims began has been the increase in the number of people swimming in the harbour and around the Jetty purely for enjoyment.
"It's a big challenge for a lot of people just to swim around the jetty structure and many save it for their once-a-year challenge," he said.
"It's a great feeling when you watch all the participants, young and old, run up the beach to the finish line with fantastic smiles on their faces showing their mission is accomplished."
The Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims cater for swimmers aged 8 years to more than 80 years.
All events will be held at the protected Coffs Jetty Beach on Sunday, April 2. For more information and to enter go to www. villagesports.com.au.