What started, as a student project by TAFE students has become one of Australia’s favourite open water swims that still attracts swimmers to Hervey Bay to swim the iconic event.
The Hervey Bay version of the Pier 2 Pub may never top the famous Lorne Pier 2 Pub with over 5000 swimmers, but the Hervey Bay version has its own fans that keep coming back year after year to swim with the tide and go for the ride!
Hervey Surf Lifesaving Club took over the management of the event many years ago and have been making sure swimmers return every year to enjoy the swim and visit Hervey Bay.
The Torquay Hotel Pier 2 Pub was traditionally held in April for the first part of its life but the decision was made to move the event to September to be held the same weekend as the Hervey Bay Masters Surf Life Saving Carnival before the Surf Life Saving patrolling season starts.
Over the years the swim has attracted swimmers from all walks of life and all abilities with many budding open water swimmers selecting the event for their first splash in the open water.
Hervey Surf Lifesaving Club president Darren Everard said, “one of the highlights of the swim is the first-timers who visit to do our swim, we have a joke with them about there being no black lines on the bottom of the sea”
“This year we have a local swimmer who is swimming in her first open water swim and we have been joking with her for a few years about having her first splash in an open water race. Seeing a person tackle their fears and complete the swim is an amazing experience; seeing the pre-race fear and the smile on their faces when they pop up at the finish line makes the effort of managing the swim all worthwhile” Everard said.
Hervey Surf Lifesaving Club is known for supplying quality water safety for events in Hervey Bay for many years and the Torquay Hotel Pier 2 Pub is no exception.
The event has three swims on the day with a swim for everybody from beginners to experienced swimmers. Many swimmers use the Hervey Bay swim as a stepping-stone to other swims. We have swimmers use our swim as a tune up for their Olympic campaign and English Channel swims, Club Captain Darren Horton said. “We have a set of guidelines that we follow to ensure we supply a safe swim that will require a united club effort to supply the coverage required, it is really a case of all hands on deck with around 30 club members on duty for the event” Horton said.
One of the highlights of the event over the years was a moment when Australian Paralympian Brenden Hall and Jack Burnham came out of the water in 2013. There was one second separating the first three with Brenden coming third.
Last year’s winners, Hayden Cotter and sister Jamie achieved great times with Hayden coming in at 32:57 and Jamie in at 39:14, In the 3.1km the last swimmer was back in just over an hour.
The swimmer to draw the biggest crowd to the event was former PM Tony Abbot in 2012 who was invited by the club to join in.
Club Publicity Officer Phil Munson said “Mr Abbot competed in the 1600 metre race that we had at the time and was back in around thirty-three odd minutes. We would love to have him back to do the swim as it created a lot of interest in our event”
We encourage anybody who is interested in open water swimming to come down to the club on a Saturday afternoon and have a talk with the community swimming group that swims from the club at 3.30pm every Saturday or join them as this is a great way to get involved and it is free”. Munson said.
For entries please visit http://www.oceanswims.com.au/ and head to the Hervey Bay page.