The Ocean Pool Challenge is back!
After successfully holding its first Ocean Pool Challenge in 2018, the West Illawarra Aquatic Swim Club will this year run the event on Monday 21 January, to coincide with Australia Swims.
The Ocean Pool Challenge was conceived by two 14-year-old Wests members, Regan Smith and Bailey Crehan, after they participated in the NSW Swimming Leadership Camp in 2017 and brainstormed ways to get more people into the water.
“Regan and I were lucky enough to be able to attend the NSW Lane Ropes to Leadership camp in 2017,” Bailey said.
“It was a great camp that encourages swimmers to get involved in the sport beyond competition and to take on leadership roles.
“Reagan and I thought the Ocean Pool Challenge was a great way to make use of the Illawarra’s Ocean Pools and to contribute towards the Australia Swims initiative. Luckily our club thought it was a great idea too and they helped us to make it a reality.”
Regan and Bailey are aiming to go even better than their efforts last year, in which the club posted the second highest number of laps in the Australia Swims campaign.
“In 2019 we have 56 WIAQ swimmers who are prepared to swim 500m in 13 ocean pools from Coledale to Kiama, and we are aiming to be the top ranked club in 2019,” Bailey said.
“However, even if we don’t make it, we will have had a great day with our friends enjoying the beautiful ocean pools along the coast, so it’s a win-win situation.”
Organising the event has been a massive learning experience for the two young swimmers, as they have worked out logistics, pool hire, costs and catering with the assistance of club executive.
“We are delighted to see our swimmers achieve in the pool – we already have half of our squad qualified to swim at the National Championships in April, which is a massive achievement,” Club president James Davies said.
“But we are also delighted to see our young swimmers take on the leadership of the club and to arrange events such as this. Not only is the club developing future swimming stars, but most importantly we are delighted to be working with Swimming NSW and Swimming Australia to be developing young people with the skills and resilience needed to be outstanding community members and future leaders.
“Bailey and Regan are both nationally qualified swimmers, but they are also hard-working members of this club who have a commitment to promoting the sport in their community. We are incredibly proud of them both.”
If you would like to catch the WIAQ team in action, they will be kicking off their Ocean Pool Challenge at Coledale pool, but you will need to be up early to see them. Keep your eyes open for swimmers at Coalcliff, Wombarra, Coledale, Austinmer, Thirroul, Bulli, Woonona, Bellambi, Towradgi, Wollongong, Port Kembla, Shellharbour, and Kiama on Monday 21 January for your opportunity to see some of the finest young swimmers in the Illawarra doing their part to promote the love of swimming.
For further information about West Illawarra Aquatic Swim Club, please click here.