Ocean Swims winners crowned in perfect weather
SWIMMING: Beautiful conditions greeted more than 600 swimmers at Coffs Harbour's Jetty Beach on Sunday for the 22nd Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims.
The first event of the day was the 600m jetty swim for females. It was a close contest between Fortitude Valley's Meegan Hoare and Coffs Harbour's Tahlia Kollen.
It came down to a sprint finish up the beach, with Tahlia just edging out Meegan over the line to finish one second ahead in 8:56. Finishing in third place was Margaret Mcconnachie from Boambee East in 9:16.
In the male 600m jetty swim, it was Korora's Isaiha Phillips out of the water first in 8:49, five seconds clear of Matt Greenway from Coffs Harbour in 8:54. He pipped Mitchell Hickey from Boambee East by just one second, who finished in third place in a time of 8:55.
The junior swims for 8-14 year olds followed, attracting almost 75 starters in the 150m and 300m events. Participation was the aim of the game with many youngsters completing their very first ocean swim, and some seasoned surf club competitors putting their training to the test.
The main event, the Beachside Radiology 2km swim attracted almost 400 competitors, 110 of whom were students and staff from The Armidale School.
Conditions were ideal for the 9.30am mass start, with sunny skies, a light breeze and warm water beckoning the swimmers. Youngsters Isaiha Phillips, 14, and Nick Alford, 13, from Moonee Beach led from the start and were neck and neck for the entire race.
They pushed each other all the way to the finish when Nick caught a small wave to put him in the lead, finishing the 2000m swim in 28:26. Isaiha crossed the line in 28:47, ahead of Sawtell's Sean Mcbean in 29:20.
Meegan Hoare, 32, was the hot favourite in the female race, winning the 2km event in 2017 and 2018 and she didn't disappoint. She was the fastest female and fourth overall in a time of 29:36, just ahead of Tahlia Kollen, 20, in 29:47. The third female across the line was Margaret McConnachie, 14.
Event director Sinclair Black said he was thrilled with how the day went.
"Conditions were ideal for competitors and we had the largest contingent in a very long time,” Black said.
"It was fantastic to see so many young competitors on the podium in the 600m and 2km, events as well as many swimmers well into their 70s completing the swims.
"We are grateful for the efforts of Sawtell and Urunga Surf Clubs for running the water safety, and to the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour Daybreak for their assistance on the day.”