IT is a signature challenge event on The Armidale School student calendar, and this year more than 100 boys and girls from Year 7-12 have signed up to brave the waters of the iconic 2km Coffs Coast Ocean Swim on Sunday, April 3.
After COVID forced the cancellation of the event in 2020 and then landslides prevented the school's attendance last year, there is plenty of interest for the ocean swim, one of the three events that qualify for a school challenge award called the TAS Triple Crown.
TAS first entered the event in 2003, when two TAS boys and a teacher took part.
This year it is again expected to be the largest team by far and may well make up more than a third of all entries.
Apart from the personal challenge, the swim is a requisite component of the school's surf lifesaving program, in which Year 11 students can achieve their Surf Bronze Medallions in conjunction with Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club which last year took over hosting the event.
Looking forward to his second Coffs Coast Swim is Swimming Captain Oliver Griffiths who was second out of the water for the school in 2019, and hoping to take out the Pacific Plate for the first TAS finisher.
Undaunted by the challenge is 10 year old Sophie Banister, the youngest TAS swimmer.
"I'm expecting it to be like a swim meet in a never-ending pool," she said.
"I know I can swim more than two kilometres because I do that at training, but I know I can't touch the bottom of the ocean for a little rest.
"Otherwise it doesn't bother me being the youngest as I often swim against kids much older than myself."
Joining the students in the water will be four staff members and 10 parents including swimming and life saving coordinator Jim Pennington.
"This is such a wonderful event for us, being in the safe waters of the harbour around the jetty. It gives our stronger swimmers the opportunity to chase personal times while for others, the challenge is more about overcoming a fear of the unknown and achieving something they may have never considered doing," he said.
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