Olympian joins is­land swim field

Multisport Mecca - - Column - Jason Crowther At­las Mul­tisports head coach and ex-pro­fe­sional triath­lete

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.

PHOTO: BARRY AL­SOP AND BRETT WORTMAN

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.

PHOTO: PA­TRICK WOODS

Casey Munro will re­turn to the Is­land Char­ity Swim this year.

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