You might not find a ninja amongst this group, but you will find a powerhouse of women who are not just passionate about swimming, but also supporting their local communities. We find out exactly who are the Turtles.
So who are the Turtles?
A swimming group of 50-60 members, who was basically a Winter Swim Group & now swim all year around in both outdoor pool & ocean. We are based in Forster on the Mid North Coast of NSW.
How long have you been involved and how long has the club/group been swimming?
The Turtles swim club commenced about 12 years ago with the majority of the girls joining 12 years ago
Tell us in a few lines how you would describe the average swim training day?
6am start - summer and winter. Summer usually consists of open water surf swimming incorporating distance, sprinting, around the Buoy as well as beach running & exercises.
Winter – outdoor pool swimming usually between 1.5 to 2K sprints. The club rule in winter is absolutely no wetsuits or rashies, so the cold is quite bracing. Our Coach Rus really puts us through the drills & is constantly thinking up new training regime. We are all competitive so the training is quite consistent.
What activities does the club provide for its regular swimmers?
Weekdays: The 6 – 7 am swim is for the working members and then another training swim @ 7.30 & ocean swim for the lucky retirees.
Social swims on Saturday 7.30 and Sunday @ 8am usually swim around to Pebbly Beach and then a big social breakfast @ our local hang out Beach Bums.
Average age of the gals involved?
Big range from some of our younger girls to the older ones, but probably the average is around 50ish, but when the young girls swim, our age comes down to the 40’s.
Is the group competitive or purely social?
We have both, some member’s love the training for social and fitness, but the majority are very competitive.
What type of events do you compete in, if any? What is next on your calendar?
The club compete in many open water ocean races throughout the summer, travelling up & down the coast. Winter competition consists of competing in the WASSA Sydney Metropolitans @ Bondi Iceburgs and the Australian Winter Swimming Championships. Some of the girls get great results, bring home Medals after every competition, especially against the bigger city clubs and of course the whole team is very social after the meets.
Next on the calendar is the famous Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim in 2 weeks. This Iconic swim around Bondi headland and south to Bronte beach has always been a favourite for the Turtles. The swim consists of 2.2 K with about 2000 entrants, commencing in age division staggered starts. We have a team of 15 travelling down this year & hope to come home with some age placings.
Rumour has it that part of the attraction to groups such as this is the social aspect? What else does you crew get up too?
Yes, the crew are very social, but has also branched into some community activities including fund raising. The girls organized the Full Moon Walk for Breast Cancer, Heart 2 Heart – Miss Saigon Ball to raise funds for a Vietnam orphanage and our latest venture is the Sustainable Clean Up Campaign for our local main beach.
Many of the Turtles are also active members of Surf Life Saving Clubs and do regular Patrols on the weekend.
Our love of adventure and open water swimming has also taken us on 3 Swim Trek’s overseas. The Greek Islands, Croatian coast and just recently a Swim Safari to Fiji. The club is developing a reputation in swimming circles for being the best-dressed swimming group around. All in the name of good fitness and fun. Members have also successfully branched out to Triathlon’s, Adventure Racing, long distance running and surf rowing.
So why swimming? What benefits do you female members get from their regular swims?
We live in this amazing environment surrounded by the clearest water we have ever seen, so why not swim outdoors rather than indoors. Benefits after training are the usual, feeling great to start the day, a healthy mind and health body. It’s all about feeling like you can take on the world every day.
Our Motto is not only to be fit, have fun & friendship but also never to come last in a race, second last perhaps, but never last.
What does swimming teach you about life?
Commitment, the desire /nerve to take on a personal challenge you never thought was possible for yourself. Try something new, use your swimming as a goal and transfer that challenge you have taken on to your everyday life.
How can someone get involved?
You will find our famous dedicated coach on the Main Beach in Forster each weekday morning @ 6am or Saturday @ 7.30 and Sunday 8am.