Growing up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches it was hard for Ben Blakeney, 22, not to love the ocean and that is exactly what he is, an ‘ocean lover’.
Mr Blakeney is a regular competitor at surf lifesaving events, recently competing at the Australian titles on the Gold Coast and has participated in the Barney Mullins Swim Classic for the last eight years.
“I first got into ocean swimming when I was about 11 or 12 years old,” said Mr Blakeney.
“I was a pool swimmer and a Freshwater surf lifesaving club nipper, so it was an exciting concept.
“The transition to start ocean swimming was an obvious one with my background and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Mr Blakeney, now a keen ocean swimmer, hasn’t lost his love of the pool, changing up the scenery a couple of times a week, swapping the saltwater for chlorine.
“I still do four swim sessions a week at the pool,” said Mr Blakeney.
“I swim with the squad down at Manly in the Andrew Boy Charlton Pool.
“I also do a mix of swim sessions in the surf when I do my surf craft sessions.”
Mr Blakeney loves the movement of the ocean and allowing his body to go wherever the swell and waves take him but his favourite part of the Barney Mullins Swim Classic is the final leg.
“I love the final stretch of the Barney Mullins swim when you start going back north across the beach,” said Mr Blakeney.
“At that point of the swim, the pace starts to get a bit faster and knowing that you’re near the last can and you can sprint to the break, is exciting.
“I also love when you get to the break and can see who can body surf a wave into the beach.
“Bodysurfing in really just tops off the swim and adds a bit of excitement to the end of the race.”
To join Mr Blakeney in the Barney Mullins Swim Classic on Saturday, 23 April 2022, head to the Barney Mullins Swim Classic at Freshwater listing for more information and to enter.