20 years in the swim
THERE are three swimmers who certainly won’t be missing the start of this year’s Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims.
Coffs Harbour locals Michael Tonks and Greg Swan, and Brunswick Heads swimmer Dave Alexander all share something very special.
They are the only swimmers who have taken part in every one of the Coffs Ocean Swims since they began 20 years ago and will be lining up on the Jetty Beach on Sunday, April 2 to dive in for the 20th time.
They have raced in everything from big swells and choppy seas to flat, glassy conditions and wouldn’t miss the annual Coffs swim.
Each year they take part in both the 600m swim around the jetty and the 2km swim across the harbour.
In fact, the distance they have covered in the past 20 years would be the equivalent of swimming from Coffs Harbour to Woolgoolga and back.
Swan said he had taken part in every swim because he loved the event, it was well organised and there was something really nice about swimming past the jetty.
“Having participated in swims all up and down the east coast, I can definitely say the Coffs Ocean swim is my favourite,” Swan said.
“Hopefully I can do the swims until I’m 70, so if all goes well, I’ll still be lining up for the Coffs Swims for the next 30 years or so.”
Another 20-year Coffs Ocean Swims veteran, Tonks, said his motivation was the fact that it was an annual charity event and also very community oriented.
“It also motivates me to get fit each year and I always compete in the 600m swim to warm up for the 2km swim,” he said.
Entries are now open for the 20th anniversary swims and organisers encourage all those who have participated previously as well as those who have never done an ocean swim to enter and be part of the celebrations.
The Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims cater for ages 8 and over.
Events include the 600m jetty swim, the 2km harbour swim and the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Olympic Pool 150m and 300m junior swims.
All events will be held at the protected Coffs Jetty Beach on Sunday, April 2.
For more information and to enter go to www.village sports.com.au.
MILESTONE: When swimmers hit the waters of Coffs Harbour Jetty for this year’s Beachside Radiology Coffs Ocean Swims, it will be the 20th time the event has been held. PHOTO: ROB WRIGHT