THE 30th annual Cole Classic was an event for young and old as nearly 4000 competitors across an age band spanning 75 years competed in Australia's largest ocean swim on Sunday.
An 83-year-old woman battled the Pacific Ocean alongside a competitor aged just nine to help raise more than $191,000 for 700 charities. The event is sponsored by Fairfax Media.
Seventeen-year-old Elliot Long was the quickest out of the water in the men's one-kilometre race and finished with a time of only 13 minutes and 38 seconds to retain his title for a second successive year. Georgia Miller was the fastest female in the short course race, finishing three seconds behind Long.
The event's nine-kilometre swim was cancelled due to severe weather warnings but the 3872 competing in the shorter courses were still in a celebratory mood despite the testing conditions. ''The conditions weren't great. Obviously in the water it was nice and warm but there was a bit of swell that came in and made it difficult on the beach,'' Long said.
He made his switch from chlorine to saltwater for the first time at last year's Cole Classic where he competed to raise money for a charity and to complement his pool training.
''I'm actually a pool swimmer and I did it as a bit of fun and my coach suggested it as an aid to training. I just joined a charity raising money for kids cancer. We're under 25 and then there's the older ages and they're all like-minded people. It's good to mix with older people in a sporting environment.''
Ollie Signorini clinched the men's two-kilometre race, finishing in 25 minutes and 18 seconds, while Josh Beard finished second four-tenths of a second ahead of Chris Fydler. Alicia Caldwell was the women's two-kilometre champion with 26 minutes and 18 seconds, ahead of Siobhan O'Leary, with Zoe Whitfield in third.