It was about 7am on a Tuesday morning, Pete Saw was in the water off Cosy Corner in Torquay and he had his Go-Pro with him.
In that way, it was like any other morning for Pete, who puts his wetsuit on nearly every weekday and Saturday and joins a group of friends for an hour-long swim.
As he captured footage of his swimming group – even coming across a stingray along the way – one of his friends mentioned to him that packaging it up into a little video might be worth his while.
And that’s how Pete became one of 4 winners of Active Geelong’s Family Challenge competition.
The #activefamilychallenge was a social media-driven competition that aimed to inspire families to get out and exercise together during the COVID-19 pandemic isolation period.
As they enjoyed being active, we encouraged families to capture the moment and send it to us on Instagram or Facebook for the chance to win one of four $500 De Grandi Sport & Cycle vouchers.
Pete, who turns 48 in the next few days, said he entered his video (which you can view here) on behalf of his swimming group which, in one way, has kind of become a ‘family’.
“It’s a lot of fun. We motivate each other and, if you miss a day, someone will certainly let you know about it,” Peter said with a laugh.
“There are about 10 of us all up, and not everyone makes every session, but we probably have at least 7 or 8 of us every morning,” he said.
“We usually swim around Torquay, but sometimes we change it up on the weekends and go down to Lorne or Point Lonsdale, or somewhere else like that.”
Active Geelong caught up with Pete on Thursday, September 10, which was ‘RU Ok? Day’, and Peter said the conversation about mental health awareness had made him realise just how important swimming had become to him while being in isolation.
“We were just talking this morning and one of the ladies who swims with us said that still being able to come out here every morning was the only thing keeping her sane. And we all agreed,” Pete said.
“It definitely helps clear your mind and start the day on a positive. That’s helped all of us, especially now in isolation.”
Pete and his group are not the only ones out there early in the morning at Cosy Corner.
In fact, it was only a few weeks ago that Pete provided some footage to Channel Nine for a news report they did on a young dolphin that spent several days interacting with locals just metres from the shore at Cosy Corner.
“I had some footage that I took when I was out there paddling and saw him. He was right there swimming amongst us all – it was pretty amazing,” he said.
Ocean swimming is not new to Pete. A member of the Jan Juc Surf Lifesaving Club, he has competed in the Lorne’s Pier to Pub and Torquay’s Danger 1000.
However the ritual of breaking the waves every morning – no matter how cold – certainly is a change of pace, and it’s one born out of necessity.
“I would usually swim at Kardinia Pool in Geelong 2-3 times a week, but once the pools closed because of COVID, I wanted to find a way to keep getting out there,” Pete said.
“Now I love it, and I’m looking forward to doing more competitive ocean swims in the summer, if we can”.
Making the effort to get out there every day has certainly paid off, as Pete said he is on track to emerge from the COVID isolation period healthier than he normally would be at this time of year.
“It’s actually meant that I’ve lost weight – I’ve lost 5kgs recently,” he said.
“Usually the scales go in the opposite direction over winter.”