This year’s Toowoon Bay Ocean Swim (TBOS) has been cancelled.
The popular ocean swim usually attracts hundreds of swimmers from across the Coast and further afield, and has been held without fail for the past 15 years.
The 2020 swim was supposed to take place on November 21, but TBOS Committee Chairman, Greg Owen, confirmed the cancellation, claiming several factors influenced the decision.
“It was a very disappointing decision to make, but ultimately the committee felt that it was in everyone’s best interest that this year’s swim be cancelled,” Owen said.
According to Owen, COVID-19 was the catalyst, with the committee unable to secure the approvals or sponsors needed to proceed in the aftermath of the pandemic lockdown.
“To be able to go ahead with the swim, we need open event approvals from Central Coast Council, the RMS and Toowoon Bay SLSC, and at the moment, the application process with the first two is non-existent.
“As with past swims, we’re also reliant on community sponsorship to be able to cover the cost of the event, but given how tough a year it’s been, our usual sponsors could not commit to funding,” Owen explained.
“The committee was also concerned about the ability to manage physical distancing between volunteers, spectators and over 500 competitors, and ultimately decided that it would be impossible to enforce this under event conditions.
“Risk mitigation was also a concern, as the event is completely volunteer run and we did not want to put volunteers at risk, nor did we want to risk the swim’s reputation if we did forge ahead without the approvals and adequate protocols in place.
“All of these factors led the committee to agree that it just wasn’t right to go ahead with the swim this year,” Owen said.
With November still a way off, TBOS regulars are hopeful for a reversal of fortune, but Owen believes that won’t be possible, with the committee now turning its attention to next year’s event.
“Given the reasons stated, I would see it as being very difficult for the cancellation to be overturned.
“I want to thank our sponsors and supporters and hope they’ll come on board again when the Toowoon Bay Ocean Swim returns in 2021,” Owen said.
Interview, Jul 3
Greg Owen, Toowoon Bay Ocean Swim
Reporter: Dilon Luke