A BOY who lives nearly three hours from the coast capped a stellar school swimming career with third place in the annual Coffs Harbour two kilometre ocean swim.
Jay Kennedy of Armidale hit the sand in third place from 372 entrants last Sunday, bettering his fifth placing from 230 competitors in the same event last year.
“I’m not as fit as last year so didn’t expect to do so well but I did have a much better run into the water and start,” said Kennedy, who finished in a time of 29.01.
The Year 12 student has been the TAS swimming age champion for the past 10 years, but next year hopes to head to the UK for a year before attending university.
Schoolmate Harry Wright was second behind Kennedy in the 16-19 category in a time of 33.47 and a third team member, Will Raleigh, was third in the same category.
Kennedy was one of 36 boys and three staff from The Armidale School who made the journey from the highlands for the event.
The contingent made up around 10 per cent of entrants, most of whom were from coastal areas.
Many of the TAS boys used the event as part of their training for their Surf Bronze Medallion, in conjunction with Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club.
It was the eleventh year the school had entered a team in the event.
“With sun aplenty, no wind and the lightest of swells, Jay immediately jumped onto the lead pack and never left,” TAS swimming coach Jim Pennington said.
“This wonderful achievement brings to a close 10 years of competitive swimming for Jay whilst at TAS.”
The swim is also the first leg for the Triple Crown, a school award created last year for boys who complete the 2km Coffs Harbour ocean swim, the Sydney City to Surf foot race, and the 111km overnight Hawkesbury Canoe Classic, during their years at TAS.