Bit­ter-Sweet­man fam­ily chal­lenge

Multisport Mecca - - News - Grant Ed­wards Grant.Ed­wards@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

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.

PHOTO: PA­TRICK WOODS

Jar­rod Sweet­man and his two boys, James, 11, and Oliver, 13, are pre­par­ing for the Spring Swim at Mooloolaba on Novem­ber 18.

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