Queenslander Michael Sheil won his third straight Coffs Coast Ocean Swim on Sunday.
Queenslander Michael Sheil won his third straight Coffs Coast Ocean Swim on Sunday. Bruce Thomas

Committee to run ocean swims

AFTER two years at the helm of the Novotel Pacific Bay Ocean Swims series, chief co-ordinator Neil Power will hand control for the 2011 staging to a committee formed from the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour Daybreak.

“Even when Mick Maley was running the show it was obviously growing too big to be handled by one or two people,” he said.

“In the interests of longevity it needs a committee situation to spread the work load around and to have more heads to come up with ideas.”

Numbers were slightly down for this year’s series held last weekend at Jetty Beach.

It’s the third consecutive year numbers have dropped in both the 600m and 2000m swims.

“Two things impacted on us, with both beyond our control,” Power revealed.

“Firstly the weather .... there were 120 late entries which suggests quite a few starters put their heads out the window and made the decision to enter at the last minute.

“But what didn’t help was an incorrect posting on the website which had the wrong date for the event, before saying over the last couple of days that entries had closed.

“Obviously, that mistake had a significant impact on the number of out-of-town visitors in particular, who decided to drop out of competing.”

It also appears the sport has become a victim of its own success with an explosion in open water swimming during the last two years.

A new event held last January at Halliday’s Point-Blackhead is believed to have steered away a number of older competitors from that area who once made the annual trip to Coffs Harbour.

Also, Coffs organisers were in direct competition with an event at Caves Beach on Saturday and another swim held at Manly on Sunday which drew more than 800 starters.

“Fortunately the proceeds have held up well and we’ll be able to distribute more than $20,000 to charities which is nothing to be sneezed at,” Power announced.

“Another future asset is the involvement of the Bondi lifesavers and this may be a valuable method of promoting future events.”



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