Bitter-Sweetman family challenge
WHEN standing on the start line of the Sunshine Coast Spring Swim, Jarrod Sweetman knows he will have a monumental task ahead.
It’s not the 1.25km swim on November 18 he’s concerned about. He’s well and truly the underdog of trumping his two boys, 13-year-old Oliver and 11-year-old James.
“They go five minutes before me. Last year I stupidly thought I might be able to catch them,” Jarrod said.
“I overestimated my ability and underestimated theirs.”
Last year was the first time the Sweetman trio took part in the event.
While a non-competitive swimmer for most of his life, Jarrod and the family got involved at Coolum Surf Club through nippers since moving to the Coast about six years ago.
Jarrod, who grew up on the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns, had little to do with the ocean as a youngster and hadn’t been out the back of the breakers until achieving his bronze medallion.
His swimming has evolved over the years and the World Series Swims events piqued his interest.
“I felt like it was something I could tick off my list,” he said.
“The first one was the Noosa one, then Mooloolaba when I convinced the kids. Last year was the first time James was old enough for the longer distance.”
More than 600 swimmers are expected to take part in events ranging from the 1.2km to 5km.
Event organiser John Guise of World Series Swims said the 2.5km event was expected to be the most popular.
“The appeal of this one is it’s a really simple course layout,” John said.
“It’s literally a straight line in the Mooloolaba bay. For the 2.5km and the 5km the turning buoy is in shallow water so you can stand up in waist-deep water, have a support crew, reset and go again.”
While there will be some serious swimmers gunning for age group wins, there will be plenty just looking to enjoy the experience.
Competitors can self seed between open or mates wave starts, which are split into male and female groups.
“That way they are swimming with people of all ages but swimming with people who have the same intentions,” John said.
“This is only the second year, and last year it was late October. It’s slightly later in the year and it feels like summer has arrived which gets people motivated.”
Entries are available online, with prices to rise from November 13. Late online entries will be accepted until November 17 (prices rise $5), and on the event day.
Jarrod Sweetman and his two boys, James, 11, and Oliver, 13, are preparing for the Spring Swim at Mooloolaba on November 18.