The Armidale School team creates blue wave at Coffs Ocean Swim

Swimmers from The Armidale School (TAS) made up almost half the entries in the 2km Coffs Ocean Swim on Sunday 7 April.

150 STUDENTS, staff and parents from The Armidale School (TAS) plunged into the water for the two kilometre (km) Sawtell SLSC Coffs Coast Ocean Swim on Sunday 7 April at Coffs Harbour’s Jetty Beach.

The record number of TAS participants made up almost half of all entries in this year’s event.

In strong rain, the youngsters adjusted their expectations and rose to the occasion.

Year 10 student Bella Henderson led the TAS team across the finish line for the second consecutive year and was the 34th finisher overall.

“It was very different conditions to last year with quite a bit more chop and a current pushing us all to the south of the harbour which added a twist to the race and made us work a bit harder,” said Bella.

“But the water was beautiful, it was warmer in the water than out of it.”

Large enough to warrant their own official start, the TAS team wore blue caps not only to be distinct, but to give visibility to the important issue of mental health.

“This is the last event for Blue Week at TAS which is about giving profile to the Blue Tree Project, which encourages people to have conversations about mental health.

“It’s such a special swim for TAS to spread the message about a good cause – I didn’t go into the race to win, but it was the cherry on top to come on top,” she said.

Eleven-year-old Lachlan Wood was the youngest in the TAS team, spending just over an hour in the water in his first two kilometre ocean swim.

“I did the 600 metre one last year and have also swum a kilometre in the Armidale pool, so it wasn’t as bad I thought it was going to be.

“Because of the swell there was a challenge not to swallow the sea water and also to keep my strokes at the end when I was getting a bit tired, but it was really good and I’m pretty proud of myself for doing it,” he said.

Amongst the course marshalls on rescue boards were a number of TAS Year 12 students who last year completed their surf bronze medallions as part of the school’s surf lifesaving program, run in conjunction with Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club, which organises the Coffs swim.


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