Feel the Eel: Terry Wood (left) from Yarrawarra and Peter Turner from Bangor find winter swimming "refreshing". Picture: HEATHER SMITH.
THE Stanwell Park Sea Eels Winter Swimming Club will host the South Coast Championships on July 15, competing against seven other coastal clubs.
The event is the highlight of the winter swim calendar where the various clubs – including the Austinmer Otters, Bellambi Blue Bottles, Coledale Oysters, Bulli Sea Lions, Corrimal Marlins, Wollongong Whales and the Wonoona Ockies – brave the icy winter waters for fun and fitness.
The championships will be held at the Continental Baths in Wollongong as a 50m pool is required, with events not exceeding 200m.
Eels president Peter McDonald said winter swimming was about maintaining fitness but the main objective of the family club was to raise money for charity.
“We raise money for the Cram Foundation which supports the profoundly disabled,” Mr McDonald said.
“We want to buy a sound bed which costs about $3500. It stimulates the muscles while people are lying on it.”
The Eels had also donated to the SunSuper Ride to Conquer Cancer and to little Clara Brown of Helensburgh who recently lost her fight against cancer.
“We give money wherever it’s required,” Mr McDonald said. “Our main effort is to buy rescue equipment for the Stanwell Park and Coalcliff surf life saving clubs.”
After the Sunday swim, members get warm at the nearest club house and enjoy a bowl of home-made soup. A raffle is held each week with the prized hamper generously donated by club member Margaret Hunt.
“Last year we raised $1700 from raffles, lotto and from fines, which could be for anything from dress infringements to swearing,” Mr McDonald said.
The Eels swim at the Coalcliff sea pool from 9am (juniors) and 9.30am (seniors). For more information, visit www.stanwellparksurfclub.com