“I was really determined to claim back my life and do the things I wanted to do rather than waiting.”
These are the inspirational words spoken by former Ironwoman and breast cancer survivor Louise Sinclair, who this weekend will take part in her eighth Cole Classic.
Two years after being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2010, the mother of four found the courage to get back in the water – an activity she has always enjoyed – and credits swimming as an important part of her recovery.
“Mentally, swimming has had the biggest positive effect, because you’re touching base with the community, you’re not in a hospital setting and it’s a gentle comeback,” she said.
“If you’ve ever had chest surgery or anything like that, it takes ages for all of those muscles to build themselves back up again, so it’s fantastic for recovery.”
Hailing from a small, hot country town in northern New South Wales, Sinclair said swimming played an instrumental role in her upbringing.
“It was a massive part of growing up because the public swimming pool was the centre of the town, and so I used to ride my bike to swimming training,” she said.
Fast forward nearly three decades, Sinclair now swims three times a week – clocking up around 7km – and participates in the Bold and Beautiful swim every Sunday with her husband.
“This has been a really good thing for our relationship. We go together and do the swim at 7am and then we have breakfast together, come home and then tackle all the sport commitments our children have – this is our date morning,” she laughed.
This weekend, Sinclair will head out for the Bold and Beautiful swim on Saturday and then take part in the 2km Cole Classic event on Sunday, in what she describes as a “weekend of swimming”.
Sinclair will be one of many participants at Shelly Beach for the Classic, with Campbell sisters, Cate and Bronte taking part in the 1km swim, as well as Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Cole. This event marks the trio's first event since moving to Sydney in January to train under Simon Cusack at a new high-performance facility.
The 5km race begins at 7:45am, while the 1km race kicks off at 8am and the 2km race starts at 10:30am.
For more information on Sydney’s Cole Classic, click here.