IT'S BACK: The fundraising Shaws Bay swim will be held in Ballina on Australia Day after a recess of a few years. Pictured is the start of one of the inaugural events in 2015.
IT'S BACK: The fundraising Shaws Bay swim will be held in Ballina on Australia Day after a recess of a few years. Pictured is the start of one of the inaugural events in 2015.

Perfect conditions for Ballina swim event

THE Shaws Bay swim in Ballina will return on Australia Day after a three-year recess.

The January 26 event, billed as Swim the Bay, is organised by the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club as a fundraiser.

There will be a 1.7km event, an 850m swim and the 200m Dash for Cash across the bay, which is open to anyone who also swam one of the other events.

Andrew Dougherty, from the surf club, said the swim was first held in 2015, and it was planned to be an annual event.

About 120 participants took part that year and the next, with each event raising close to $3000.

In 2017, however, the swim had to be cancelled due to major flooding in the region — the dirty water flowing down the Richmond River and into Shaws Bay made the swim a health risk.

After that, the swim wasn’t held for two years as it was difficult to find a suitable date that didn’t clash with other swims, but still have a high tide in Shaws Bay in the morning.

But in a perfect situation, the high tide in Ballina will on Australia Day come at the event start time of 9.30am.

“I don’t think we’re going to get another flood between now and Australia Day,” Mr Dougherty said.

He said the long spell of dry weather has had a positive effect on Shaws Bay.

“I’ve never seen it looking so good,” Mr Dougherty said.

“It’s clear and there’s plenty of fish.”

The main swims this year will start from the Shaws Bay Hotel on the western side of the bay, but the Dash for Cash will start from the Lakeside Holiday Park across from the pub.

Mr Dougherty said Swim the Bay, though not an ocean swim, would provide a challenge to competitive swimmers.

But he said it also was a social event, and those who enjoy a dip in the popular swimming spot — and there are plenty of regulars — were encouraged to enter.

While there will be trophies for the winners of the various categories, the major prizes will be drawn from all the participants.

Swim the Bay is open to all swimmers from 10 years of age, and surf lifesavers will be on hand for safety.

The 850m event is one lap of the eastern end of the bay, while the 1.7km event will be two laps.

Registration can be done online through the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club, ballinasurfclub.com.au, or on the day from 9am.

The swim is supported by the Shaws Bay Hotel and Newton Denny Chapelle surveyors.


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