About 600 people took part in two days of events for the 2017 Tathra Wharf to Waves.
Officials were thrilled with the turnout between the fun run, bike ride and Sunday’s swims as officials were swamped with hordes of last minute entries.
Sunday featured 431 entries all in with 290 swimmers involved in the 600 metre age swims and another 141 names registered in the On the Perch Splash for Cash over 1200 metres.
Massive storms had ravaged Tathra Beach early in 2016 and the beach provided a very different landscape to last year as the high tide pushed at times beyond the finish line.
“It will be hard to tell if we’ll get fast times or if it will appear a bit slower,” FSC Surf Lifesaving branch president Tony Rettke said at the main event. “Normally it can a 30 or 40-metre sprint up the beach, but the water is pushing right up the finish line this year.”
An unexpected special guest halfway through the age swims was a visit from a seal, which darted around in front of the finish line and made quite a spectacle for beachgoers.
(Editor’s note: all results are preliminary and the confirmed final results will be updated as we get them) Event stalwart John Fox had a massive day out, winning his age swim by a long margin and also out-shining Melbourne hopeful James Macri, who had won the last three 1200-metre swims.
Last year’s ladies winner Zoe Philipzen was high in the rankings, but couldn’t quite match it with two swimmers edging her out to the finish line of the main event.
Local young guns had a strong day out as they faced off against visitors from Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra and many swimmers from Victoria.
Ellie Parker was a strong contender in her age group and hit the beach to cheers from her fellow lifesavers, as did new patrol member Tarni Evans, who finished in the top 10.
Former MP Steve Whan had some great results, finishing second in his age swim and taking on the 1200-metre Splash for Cash with a top 10 result.
A highlight for beachgoers on the day was the tale of Brent Peters, who had been working with the special nippers program and local lifesavers to train and compete in the ocean swim.
Peters emerged from the water to thunderous applause from the massive crowd and enjoyed an emotional embrace with his parents at the finish line.
The family and organisers also congratulated lifesaving club member Zoe Stewart, who swam the distance side by side with Peters and encouraged him the whole way.