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40 Cole Classics and counting

The 40th anniversary of the Cole Classic is this weekend, we spoke with Chris Curran who has participated in all 39 events.

With the 40th anniversary of the Cole Classic fast approaching (Sunday, 6 February 2022) we have found a swimmer who has celebrated every single one of the swims individually.

By his count, Chris Curran, who lives on Sydney’s north shore and is in his 70’s, has participated in all 39 Cole Classics and reminisces about how the event has evolved over the years.

“I think the biggest thing that has changed would be the overall professionalism and how it’s been organised,” said Mr Curran.

“It’s grown over the years, it has evolved and gotten better. It’s always a pleasure to hop in the car and go down and do the swim and then chat with friends about it afterwards and get ready for the next year.

“The safety aspect for me has always been important, the water safety are all great volunteers and they do their job very very well out in the water, keeping all the swimmers safe.

“My expectations of the event have been very high each year and they’re always exceeded.”

Mr Curran has seen the iconic Cole Classic held at both Bondi and Manly over the years but his favourite venue is Manly simply because it’s close home he says with a laugh.

“Look, I love both beaches and they are both great but Manly is more convenient for me because I live on the north shore,” said Mr Curran.

“I do like Bondi though because it makes me get off my butt and I get to more of Sydney than just the north.”

Mr Curran has no plans to stop participating in the Cole Classic anytime soon saying he will stay involved for as long as he possibly can.

“I’m a determined old bugger and I like to put another notch on my belt each year,” said Mr Curran.

“I will keep doing the Cole Classic as long as I am well enough and have prepared enough for it.

Mr Curran prepares for the Cole Classic in a similar way each year; swimming a couple of times a week in his ‘Lap and Chat’ swim group as well as sneaking in some longer swims. 

“Most of my training is done in the morning with my swim group, we call ourselves ‘Lap and Chat’ because we do our laps and then like to chat in between,” said Mr Curran.

“I always prepare by doing at least two, five-kilometre swims and then my other training usually consists of anywhere between 1.5 – 2.5 kilometres in a session.”

“I try and do a mix of aerobic and anaerobic type swimming and I do plenty of intervals with some distance stuff in there too,

“I like to do either 3x500m or 3x1km hard somewhere in my preparation and then I just consistently do four swim sessions a week and throw in an ocean swim on the weekend.”

Artist Celeste Coucke has been hand-making ceramic trophies for the Sun Run and Cole Classic since 1997

When asked why Mr Curran loves the Cole Classic he replied “the good conditions and warm water”.

“I love that there are always good conditions and warm water to swim in,” said Mr Curran.

“These always make the swim that much better. I also love getting the plates for placing, and in the past few years fewer people have been participating in my age group (currently 70-74-years), so that gives me a better chance of getting a plate. I think I have three so far and I would love to keep adding a few more to the collection.”

To join Mr Curran in the 40th Anniversary of the Cole Classic on Sunday, 6 February 2022, head to the Cole Classic listing to enter.

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  • Written by Ocean Swims on 2 February 2022
  • (Updated on 10 August 2023)

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