Olympian joins island swim field
AN EVENT, not a race, the Island Charity Swim started how most crazy challenges do with a bet between two mates.
Bill Hoffman and Ashley Robinson swam from Mudjimba around the Old Woman Island and finished at Mooloolaba Spit to raise funds and awareness for Nambour and Currimundi Special Schools.
It has now turned into an annual event raising $60,000-$80,000 for the two schools and attracting endurance athletes wanting a challenge swimming as an individual or a team.
Rio Olympian Jarrod Porte is lining up at this year’s event.
Most will know him from his gutsy swim at the Rio Olympics where he led the 10km open water event for 95% of the race before being swamped by the pack in the final stages.
After growing up in Buderim he has since moved to Illawarra.
“I have always wanted to do the swim over but unfortunately could never fit it into my schedule, however this year works,” Jarrod said.
“I think it's a great challenge and is for a really great cause.
“My main race distance is 10km so 11km is fine for me and I'll have no trouble getting it done.”
Jarrod’s main strategy will be to get out there strong and hold the best pace he can.
“No real goal time when I do open water swims (environmental factors decide that) but I would imagine I’d get through it in two hours,” Jarrod said.
“Next on the cards is really a lot of training and racing to prepare and get ready for Tokyo in four years’ time. You can’t win the races that I do without putting in good old honest hard work, so this year that's the focus.”
Last year Casey Munro finished the swim in 1:55 in what looked like perfect conditions from the beach, but 2km off the sand the southerly wind threw up some chop.
In his first attempt we asked Casey about the experience.
“I thought it was a good challenge, but just the right amount of challenge,” he said.
“It is the right distance to be able to swim hard the entire way. I like the fact that it is a local iconic swim. Everyone knows that it is a long way from the island to Mooloolaba. It is an event that is good to do as you are never going to do it on your own. With the support and boats you feel safe out there.
“The conditions looked ideal from the beach but there was chop from the island to Mooloolaba. It was a case of swimming accordingly as into chop I lifted my stroke rate and shortened my stroke. I had to
switch off as you don’t feel like you are moving. My paddler sat on my right where I breathe so I couldn’t see land and just swam without worrying about distance.
“I am returning this year as I couldn’t go past the recovery spread! It is the best recovery spread of any event I have ever done. I also want the challenge to go faster, but that all comes down to conditions.”
Athletes are treated to some of the best home cooking on the Sunshine Coast when they complete their swim.
This is made by all of the parents at the special schools. In the evening there will also be presentations, dinner, music and drinks at Mudjimba SLSC all put on by Nambour and Currimundi Special Schools P&C.
The community spirit in this event is phenomenal as athletes and their families are shown what this event is all about.
Olympian Jarrod Poort after winning at Noosa last year, and below as a youngster when he was an emerging star on the Sunshine Coast as a 13-year-old.
Casey Munro will return to the Island Charity Swim this year.