Swim is top gift for birthday boy

The original article by Mitchell Craig is posted (with picture) on The Northern Star since 2nd May 2011

AFTER celebrating his 21st birthday on Saturday night, Brisbane swimmer Codie Grimsey backed up strongly to take out the Beach Hotel Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic yesterday morning.

Grimsey has competed at the event since he was nine years of age and was elated to finally get a victory in the open SuperFish division.

“I had a party at home last night and only got about three hours’ sleep,” he said.

“I’m probably lucky there was such a strong sweep around past Wategos.

“I was a bit dusty at the marshalling area, but it seemed to go in my favour once I hit the water.”

Grimsey finished second last year, behind surf lifesaving champion Ky Hurst.

He had hoped to compete yesterday alongside his older brother and World Championship 25km silver medallist Trent Grimsey.

“He (Trent) couldn’t get here because of the party last night,” Codie Grimsey joked.

“He looked a bit worse for wear when we left at 5.30 this morning.

“Our coach was at the party and he understands that you only turn 21 once.

“I hoped Ky Hurst would be here though.

“I came second behind him last year and I was keen to give it another crack.

“But I’m ecstatic to win one of the best ocean swim events in Australia.”

Defending champion Melissa Gorman won the open women’s division for a record sixth time.

“It got pretty rough in the middle, but the start and finish were pretty good,” Gorman said.

“It’s always hard when you come around the rocks.

“Once you get past that and find your rhythm, the race goes really quick.

“I really liked the new distance too.”

This year the race was increased to 2.4km – 200 metres more than previous years.

More than 1900 swimmers registered for the annual event with an estimated extra 100 unregistered swimmers also taking part.

The Winter Whales swim committee has urged all competitors to officially register next year.

“It gets confusing and congested at the start line,” swim committee secretary Syl Reid said.

“It’s a safety issue and isn’t fair to everyone else that has paid to go in the swim.”

This year competitors came from as far as Hawaii and England to compete.