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Men’s mental health swim set to go annual

Wednesday, 20 March 2019
By Wayne Robinson

Swimming for mental health: Konica Minolta team (l-r) Kyle Young, Peter Stace, Andrew ‘Wardy’ Ward, Ben Jennings and Dean Mico

The weekend’s first mental health for men swim-a-thon on Sydney’s northern beaches exceeded all expectations of the organisers, who are now planning an annual event.

Produced by a group of local guys including print industry identity Andrew ‘Wardy’ Ward, the NSW sales manager for Konica Minolta production presses, the event saw some 525 swimmers take part in the 24 hour swim, clocking up 19,026 laps between them – the equivalent of 951 kilometers – and raising $82,000 for local men’s mental health charity Gotcha4Life in the process.

In addition to the swimmers the event had 130 volunteers, with around 1000 spectators coming to Collaroy Rockpool between 10am on Saturday and 10am on Sunday. Local emergency services including the police, firefighters and ambulance crews were also present, some taking part, some sharing their experiences.

Most laps of any swimmer were clocked up by Rod Mashdale, a double lung transplantee, with 360. Ward himself got through 160 over three sessions, including an hour with a Konica Minolta team of Kyle Young, Peter Stace, Ben Jennings and Dean Mico.

Ward said, “It was an exhilarating experience. To see so many people from the community come together for the good of all was immensely satisfying. Everything was way more than we anticipated; number of swimmers, number of laps, money raised. The funds raised, for Gotcha4Life, will make a big difference.”

Sponsors for the day included Konica Minolta itself, as well as Aon, Evans Dixon and Rams Mona Vale, in addition to Gotcha4Life sponsor Westpac.

 

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