The Beachside Radiology Coffs Oceans Swims celebrates its 20th birthday this weekend. The charity fundraising event offers participants choices of distance catering to both the novice and the competitive, even including a fun race for the kids. All swims are held inside the beautiful, protected harbor where it’s not uncommon to spot dolphins swimming along as well.
Race director Mick Maley expects a big crowd on Sunday, there were over 900 swimmers last year and this year there are even swimmers from as far as Canada reported to be attending. “The event is now in its 20th year and many people make the trip to Coffs each year for the swim because of its beautiful location and unique protected harbour,” Maley said. “They can still enjoy the exhilaration of an ocean swim without contending with the large waves they may encounter at an open beach.”
Along with the hundreds of swimmers coming out for Sunday’s race, the day will be extra special for 3 swimmers in particular. Locals Michael Tonks, Greg Swan and Dave Alexander will become the only three swimmers who have completed every one of the Coffs Ocean Swims since they began 20 years ago. The trio have completed the race in all kinds of conditions over the years from big swells and choppy seas to flat glass-like conditions. This year they’ll do both the 600m swim around the jetty as well as the 2km swim across the harbor.
Greg Swan explains his dedication to the race by saying he loves both how well organized the race is and the beautiful course itself. “Having participated in swims all up and down the east coast, I can definitely say the Coffs Ocean swim is my favourite,” Swan said. One year in particular Swan had broken his foot in a surfing accident and managed to have the plaster cast removed earlier than recommended just so he wouldn’t miss the race. His advice is simple: “Anyone thinking about trying the swims this year, should just come down and give it a go – they will be hooked like me.”
Once again former Olympic swimmer Brooke Hanson will be the Ocean Swims ambassador for the event and she couldn’t be more excited she said.
The action starts at 8am on Sunday at the Jetty Beach. There is the full 2km distance as well as a 600m swim around the Jetty and the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Olympic Pool 150m and 300m Junior swims for 8-14 year olds.
With an excellent venue, superb event organizers and a fun, exciting family based atmosphere the 20th anniversary of this great race is going to be a fun one!