Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Veterans Train with Purpose

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Veterans Train with Purpose

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Hoffman

TO GET the most about of life on the Sunshine Coast you have to live it. That seems to be the motto of a disparate group who found themselves in the same adult swim squad at Caloundra Aquatic Centre about seven years ago.

Two Saturdays ago the six, aged between 34 and 59, each completed the 11km Island Charity Swim solo in tough conditions.

For many, it was their sixth trip across the long patch of water from Mudjimba to Mooloolaba. It won't be their last.

Ben Muskens, 40, a former top surfer in Sunshine Coast and Queensland amateur competition back in the 1980s, was drawn to the pool in a bid to find fitness to keep getting his share of waves.

There he found aThe Godfathera Les O'Keefe, 56, who began playing water polo when he shifted to the Coast from Melbourne 27 years ago and who had since drifted into masters swimming.

Before long they were joined by Ben's mate, Tony Shadforth, 41.

aI started doing squad for surf fitness and to stop me drinking beer two nights a week,a Ben laughed after last weekend's marathon effort.

aCraig Prout (40) was there training for rugby fitness and Tony jumped on board.a

Ben then had a chance encounter with what the Island Swim was all about when he did a job for Darcy Tyrell, who is the father of two former Currimundi Special School students.

aI got home and rang Shaddy straight away and said I'd now found a reason for us to train and we should do the swim,a Ben said. aHe replied, a[approximately]no, you should', but then got into it anyway. This was our sixth year.a

Les watched the boys come in that first year and has been on board ever since.

Sharks were an issue. Both Ben and Tony nourished a healthy dose of fear of the things in the back of their minds.

aWe took my boat out and a mate drove while we swam from Moffat over to Ann Street,'' Ben recalled. …

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