Nathan Rix was your everyday happy go lucky seven-year-old in 1995 when he was diagnosed with cancer.
After undergoing multiple procedures he beat it, however, ten years later the cancer returned and doctors had to amputate his right leg above the knee.
Mr Rix used to do a fair bit of swimming when he was a kid but decided to give it away when he became a teenager, only to fall in love with it again after his surgery.
“I never really did any ocean swimming but when I was a kid I did a fair bit of pool swimming before I gave it away,” said Mr Rix.
“It wasn’t until I lost my leg that I found the water again and got back into swimming.
“I then saw an ocean swim advertised and jumped at doing it.
“I fell in love with ocean swimming from there and I haven’t looked back since.”
Mr Rix loves the satisfaction and freedom ocean swimming gives him, swimming multiple times a week.
“I generally try to swim with a couple of friends, whether that be in the Wollongong Harbour or sometimes in the ocean pools,” said Mr Rix.
“I still do some pool swimming from time to time but it’s hard to pass up swimming in the ocean when it’s so beautiful and still warm at this time of year.
“The satisfaction you get once you complete an ocean swim event after all your training is a great feeling and knowing you set yourself a goal and achieved it, I personally get a lot of joy out of it.
“As well as when the ocean swims raise money for charity, I get a lot of satisfaction out of that and it is very rewarding.”
Since starting ocean swimming, Mr Rix has participated in a string of ocean swims including the Coogee Island Challenge, Bondi to Bronte, Malabar, Collaroy and the Tilbury Classic multiple times – the latter he is gearing up to take on again this Saturday, 16 April.
“The Tilbury Classic is a great swim and I look forward to it each season,” said Mr Rix.
“Col Lawrence does a great job of organising it and there is always a really good atmosphere down there.
“It’s an added bonus that it’s on the Easter weekend because Sydney-siders can come down and we can show them our beautiful waters, while they do the swim.
“Everyone is also really supportive at the swim and it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first swim or you’re a seasoned swimmer, the local community will be behind you supporting and cheering you on.
“I always love the atmosphere at the Tilbury Classic and the massive buzz it gives me while with the support of the community.
“It is much more than a swim because there are presentations and bacon and egg burgers afterwards and you can just feel how much the community supports and celebrates the swimmers.”
To join Mr Rix in the Tilbury Classic on Saturday, 16 April 2022, head to the Tilbury Classic listing for more information and to enter.