Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Open Water Paradise in the Pacific

Like his colleagues New Zealand Ocean Swim Series Scott Rice of the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series and New Zealand Ocean Swim Series Douglas Woodring of the Clean Half 15K Marathon Relay, Paul McCoy of Pacific Swims has built a devoted following in the South Pacific and throughout the open water swimming community.

Paul McCoy, a lifelong swimmer originally from South Yorkshire, England and now a resident in Fiji, first caught the travel bug and found himself swimming for fitness in the lakes in Uganda and Malawi and in the ocean in Vanuatu. As a community run in the 1970’s and a triathlon organizer through the 1980’s and 1990’s, Paul has seen first-hand growth of open water swimming over the past 15 years. As he puts it, "It was a natural progression to organize destination swims. The first open water swim we organized was a local event in Fiji in 2000. Vanuatu in 2002 was the first international event. My wife, Veronica, and I run a Human Resource consultancy and training business as well as organize our running events, tourism-based projects and Swim Safaris in Vanuatu and Fiji. These are small groups on guided swim, adventure and cultural tours with other athletes and friends to remote areas of Vanuatu and Fiji."

"We very much enjoy the logistical challenge of putting on these events, seeing the satisfaction of people completing a challenge they have set for themselves. We also enjoy planning and working with tourism authorities and stakeholders in getting the event off the ground, working with local crew to establish standards for the event and then seeing it grow in terms of participation."

"At our events in Pacific Swims, we get a lot of people who've taken up the challenge of ocean or open water swimming fairly recently and it's great to see the enthusiasm and camaraderie all around at our event swim clinics. We also try to showcase the unique culture, art, dance and music of Vanuatu and Fiji as part of the event experience."

"Part of the power and charm of open water swimming is the number of people raising funds for deserving charities through swimming, the 'agelessness' of the sport and its synergies with the environment."

"My goal for the future is to see the further growth of our events and ocean and open water swimming generally. The growth in participation over the past few years, the emergence of new events, supporting websites and information has been great, as well as the number of newcomers taking up the sport or people getting back into swimming for fitness. The recent success of the 10K at the Olympics has also been a factor in creating wider interest in swimming 'in the open' and will hopefully inspire more people to get into the sport."

Paul offers free trips to 10Ks Vanuatu or Danger 1000 Ocean Swim on January 17, Capital Classic in Wellington, the Macquarie Big Swim, the 10Ks, the Cole Classic in Sydney, 10Ks or the Corsair Classic in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We certainly share Paul’s goals and trust Paul will be leading the evolution of the sport with his global community of race organizers for years to come.

Photo of Paul McCoy with 78-year-old surf pirate Sydney Salek.

1 comment:

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