A great winter in the water

Photo: Matt Bradley


Peninsula Ocean Swimmers recently participated in an ocean swimming challenge to stay active during lockdown.

The winter challenge was open to three swimming groups on the Coast between May 1 and September 1– Peninsula Ocean Swimmers (POS), Terrigal Ocean Swimmers (TOS) and Toowoon Bay Ocean Swimmers (TBOS).

Participants had to swim 20 times in the ocean through winter and received a badge if successful.

A total of 87 swimmers signed up and recorded 3201 swims during the challenge.

Event organiser Chris Young said it was an amazing effort from all participants.

“[A] huge fist-bump out to everyone who participated, from one swim to 120 swims in skins or wetsuits it’s been a great winter in the water,” Young said in a statement.

“To the 66 swimmers who have earned their Winter Swim badge – very well done, I hope you wear them with pride.

“Special thanks to Paul, Nana and Susan, for all they do to support Open Water Swimming and their countless efforts. You guys are amazing.”

Young said a number of participants also received different badges for their success in the challenge, with Matt Bradley and Max Grady (POS) taking out the top spot for the most swims at 120 apiece.

Bradley didn’t miss one day of the challenge and opted to swim throughout the winter with no wetsuit.

He said it was a very challenging but enjoyable experience.

“There were days when it was raining sideways … it teaches you to be alive and to experience life,” Bradley said.

“It became a fun adventure to turn up in the mornings when it was dark, and the sun hadn’t crested above the horizons.

“It was a really good crew that we built up; it was just amazing to watch people change during the challenge, people saying it was too hard, too cold at first, and then they started to enjoy it.

“We inspired people and we also got inspired from other people as well … it’s a positive feedback loop.

“It’s amazing what you can do when you’ve got that support around you.

“It [was] a really great way to start the day every morning and I don’t think I’ve missed a day since the challenge ended – it’s become a really good habit.”

Bradley said the challenge has also shown him the health benefits of cold-water immersion.

“There are so many benefits from being in the water and immersing yourself … the health benefits are enormous, but there’s also social [benefits], exercises and the chance to get out there and breathe fresh air,” he added.

“It was also a good counter against the stay-at-home orders during lockdown … we could go out to exercise.

“It was an opportunity to see people every day.

“It was awesome.”

A summer swimming challenge is to be hosted soon.

For more information, contact Chris Young at the Central Coast Open Water Swimming Association at COSAmailbox@gmail.com

Maisy Rae