My Speedos are snugger than they used to be. I know this as I am slowly and painfully squeezing into them a few times a week after they had sat forgotten and patiently in my cupboard for about 5 years. My first swim training session to prepare for the Mudjimba Island Charity Swim in Cotton Tree Pool was both funny and terrifying as a bunch of awesome women came together to brave the coolish waters and tentatively start to train for the iconic local swim that has been running for over 20 years.
It is one of the most beautiful and epic fund raisers on the Coast where swimmers of all abilities swim from Mudjimba to Mooloolaba. Shut up with your talk of sharks. All the money goes to the 3 special schools on the Coast and I cannot think of a better cause or better kids than the 400 students who could do with improved facilities. I did a tour of Currumundi Special School and the kids are so happy and thriving but of course the school needs more money to improve things. The swim has raised $2 million dollars over the 2 decades and paid for such important school upgrades such as a tactile outdoor playgrounds and special whiteboards.
The legends Ash Robinson (yes he writes a great column over that page each week) and Bill Hoffman started the swim all those years ago. So, this year my buddy, Caroline Hutchinson, and myself are swimming as part of our Mix FM radio team. We both did the swim about 20 years ago. Caroline is clearly pluckier than I am because she did the 11 kilometre sea challenge solo, whereas I was part of a team. But there’s been a lot of water under the bridge and wine under the belts in those two decades and our training sessions have been a mixture of laughter at how unfit we are and horror at the pain in our arms as we try to propel our middle-aged bodies through the water.
Our coach is a ripper of a woman named Lee who lost her husband 2 years ago and it has been a joy just to be around her for our training sessions. Kris makes me smile in her pink frilly floral togs each week and is the quiet achiever. And Kenny’s mum is joining us at training as her son has a disability and she just wants to help raise some money for the kids at the schools. Great women. We also have Barry who is on the team who we work with and thank the stars he can swim really well.
Here is the thing: Caroline and I are not aiming to break Olympic records, but we just want to give it a crack and raise awareness and some money for the kids at the special schools. Every day and night is tough for many of those beautiful souls so if we are cold and freaking out a shark is going to eat us, then that is okay. It is only a few hours of discomfort before we will be on the beach having a hot cup of coffee (or maybe something stronger) laughing at ourselves.
The swim starts at Mudjimba on May 13th and we expect to take about 4 hours before we glide (splutter) into Mooloolaba spit in front of The Cheese block. If you wanted to donate even $10, I would be eternally grateful and you can do so here: https://mudjimbaislandcharityswim23.grassrootz.com/island-charity-swim/sami
Wish us luck.