While Manly’s Cole Classic Ocean Swim involves some serious swimming, fundraising is also an important part of this legendary ocean swim.
This year, some of Manly’s swimmers, known as the Drinks Express, are pooling their fundraising efforts for CareFlight, which recently saved the life of one of their finest.
The Drinks Express, who swim at 6:30am daily, are training for this year’s Cole Classic on Sunday, 6 February. The team is led by Andrew ‘Drinks’ Drinkwater, whose brother Mark, aka ‘Stickman’, had a serious motorbike accident on the Bylong Valley Way in mid-western NSW.
It was 20 February 2021 when the Northern Beaches brothers were on a weekend riding trip. Conditions were fine and they were chatting via a Bluetooth connection. Mark can’t remember what happened that afternoon but said he may have lost concentration taking a corner. All his brother heard was ‘I’m down’.
Andrew’s call to 000 initiated lifesaving responses culminating in a CareFlight chopper airlifting Mark to the hospital which saved his life. Mark was in a brace for three months as he fractured his neck at C7. He fractured ribs, lacerated his spleen and kidney and was bleeding on his brain.
Now, fully recovered, Mark will race his brother and the Drinks Express in the 5km Cole Classic event. He’s the one to beat as he came 19th from 308 entrants in last year’s event with a time of 67 minutes.
Andrew and Mark can’t thank enough the 000 dispatcher, Muswellbrook paramedics, Denman Fire and Rescue, CareFlight, the doctors and nurses at John Hunter Hospital, and Dr Patrick Coleman and his colleagues from Northern Beaches Hospital.
CareFlight is an aeromedical charity with a mission to save lives, speed recovery and serve the community.