For Toby Brandon-Cooper, 17, a love for the ocean was inevitable.
Having come from a keen swimming family, he was bound to enjoy it.
“Both my grandfather and mother loved the water,” said Mr Brandon-Cooper.
“From a young age, I was introduced to swimming and then of course the ocean.
“It didn’t take me long to figure out that I love the water too and I absolutely love ocean swimming.
“I remember my first real ocean swimming experience was at nippers down at Manly and while I was very young, I just loved the feeling of swimming out and around the buoys.”
Mr Brandon-Cooper is swimming captain for his swim team at North Sydney’s Shore and regularly swims before school which he has found is beneficial to his headspace during the day.
“I swim about four times a week before school and then on the weekends I swim down at the Balmoral Beach Club participating in their Saturday and Sunday morning swims which are usually one or two kilometres,” said Mr Brandon-Cooper.
“I’m also lucky enough to be the swimming captain for my school and by far my favourite thing about my role is being able to get to know the younger boys on the team and find out why everyone loves swimming just like me.
“It’s also awesome to see the joy on their faces as they improve and break personal bests or reach a significant milestone in the water.
“Being captain has really made me realise that swimming is much more than an individual sport and the best part of it is swimming with friends and fellow water lovers.”
Mr Brandon-Cooper and his school swim team are preparing for the upcoming Balmoral Swim for Cancer on Sunday 3 April, where he will participate in the 2.5km ocean swim and the school’s challenge.
“I love doing the Balmoral Swim for Cancer each year and think it is a fantastic ocean swim,” said Mr Brandon-Cooper.
“It’s a great swim for ocean swimmers of all levels even first-time ocean swimmers because it is a harbour swim so there are fewer waves but you get the benefits of being able to swim in the saltwater and see the fish and stingrays below, but you don’t have to deal with the large breaking waves.
“I also love that I get to support such an amazing and worthwhile cause by participating in the event.
“I’m really looking forward to swimming in the 2.5km and then the School’s Challenge with my Shore school team, we have great fun doing a quick 200 metres in the challenge together.”
Ocean swimming really gives you a rush of energy when you get out of the water
When asked why Mr Brandon-Cooper liked the Balmoral Swim for Cancer his reply was simple, “the beautiful scenery and supporting such a good cause.”
“When you swim out, it is such a pretty sight to be able to turn your head one way and see beautiful Balmoral and the rotunda and then turn the other way and see the magnificent headland.
“I also love the combination of feeling relaxed and energetic once I finish the swim.
“Ocean swimming really gives you a rush of energy when you get out in the water.”
To join Mr Brandon-Cooper and the Shore school swim team in the Balmoral Swim for Cancer on Sunday, 3 April 2022, head to the Balmoral Swim for Cancer listing to enter.