DEDICATED competitor Bill Palmer will leave it until race eve before deciding on a start in Sunday’s 13th Beachside Radiology Ocean Swim around the jetty.
The octogenarian Coffs Harbour City councillor, who describes himself as a water baby since birth, belongs to a select handful who has participated in every swim since the iconic event’s inception.
Only he, Kevin Plummer and Greg Swan are recorded to have taken to the water for the 12 previous swims.
But he scotched widely held beliefs he is the oldest competitor.
“I might be getting up there but some of the others in the past have been older than me,” he said.
“But since the last swim I’ve had a bit of illness and will be taking a short holiday before this event.
“We get back the day before and if I feel okay it’s still possible I’ll hit the water.”
Conducted by the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour Daybreak, the three-race series offers cash and random draw prizes to competitors.
Jetset Travel will sponsor the 250m charity swim and provide a range of travel packages to lucky swimmers across the day.
Southern Cross University will present the 600m swim, while the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort 2000m swim will be the feature event.
Online entries can be made at www.coffsoceansswims.com, with inquiries to Frank Hold on 0411 111 215.
Defending champion Michael Sheil is expected back as he seeks a fourth straight victory.
Last year he became the first to collect victory in all three races on the same day.
The Bondi Rescue boys are heading back to the city for their second assault on the event. They will be signing autographs at Beachside Radiology, 20 Park Avenue, at 11.30am on Friday.