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Ocean 'treat'

Shayal Devi
Sunday, November 05, 2017

SPORTING competitions in maritime areas are rare but when organised properly, they can be quite a treat whether you are a local or visiting the country.

Last week, the Mana Ocean Swim attracted 76 participants — local and tourists — and the annual event was marked a success yet again.

Freddie Brown, 17, from New South Wales, Australia, was a first-time competitor at the Mana Ocean Swim this year.

"I've done ocean swims before in Australia but never here and it was really nice here," the Year 11 student said.

"I've been swimming competitively since I was 13. I'm 17 now but I can't remember when I learnt to swim.

"I love swimming and everything about it, just the people you meet, the feeling of being in the water and an opportunity like this, I'll only experience this once in a lifetime."

Freddie won the one kilometre and 2.5km races at the event.

"I've been to Plantation Island when I was little for a holiday but never for a competition like this. The people here (in Fiji) are awesome."

For Irishman Paul Colville, living and working in Fiji for the past year has been a new experience in itself.

And winning the 5km race for his first ocean swim competition in Fiji has certainly been the cherry on top.

"This is my first swim in Fiji, well I've been living in Fiji for the last year and I live in Suva," he said.

"I used to do open water swims in Ireland so this is my first time getting the chance to do something like this in Fiji.

"I suppose, I was just worried about the heat and sun so there was plenty of sun cream, conditions were really good and it was well-organised. I will definitely do this again."

Among the majority of the local crop of competitors were members of Suva-based Babale Masters swim club.

Member Jope Soko, 36, participated in his first swimming competition at the Mana Ocean Swim

"I've been involved with swimming for the past 12 years, I've been training for the past two and a half months and there was an opportunity to come and swim and I accepted so this is the first time to swim the 1km at Mana," he said.

The Lau native said he enjoyed swimming and for him, it was a way to keep fit.

According to Paul Ellercamp from Ocean Swims, they were looking forward to the next Mana Ocean Swim which would be held during the last weekend of October next year.

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