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Swim Thru to celebrate stalwart’s life

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
City of Bunbury Surf Life Saving Club members Elijah Mullens, 15, and Carrie Caffrey, 13, get a sneak peek at the Barrett Bunbury Swim Thru's new trophy presented by Margaret Smith.
Camera IconCity of Bunbury Surf Life Saving Club members Elijah Mullens, 15, and Carrie Caffrey, 13, get a sneak peek at the Barrett Bunbury Swim Thru's new trophy presented by Margaret Smith. Credit: Kate Fielding / South Western Times

Swimmers will dive head-first into the 37th Barrett Bunbury Swim Thru at the Leschenault Inlet on Saturday.

While the unique event will again raise money for the City of Bunbury Surf Life Saving Club, it is a new trophy honouring the life of a regular swimmer that is set to make a splash.

Brian Smith took part in the inaugural swim thru and did 33 more over the years before he succumbed to osteomyelitis at the age of 81.

“He had a disability which he was born with and that created a six-inch-short leg,” his wife Margaret Smith said.

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Mrs Smith said her husband took up swimming while the pair celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on a cruise and he continued on with the hobby to “prove he could do it”.

“There was nothing for him to do on the boat so he took up scuba diving after never being encouraged to take up sport and he came home with his certificate,” she said.

The annual 1.6km swim attracts participants aged between 10 and 80 and is judged on the swimmer closest to their a nominated time.

The Brian Smith Challenge Trophy will be awarded to a swimmer who shows courage against adversity or the perseverance to compete.

“There’s a lot of people out there, it doesn’t have to be a physical disability, it could be anything that a lot people don’t know about that someone does it for a reason,” Mrs Smith said.

“I just want to give them an opportunity to be recognised. There’s a lot of people out there that have to do a challenge to get back on top.”

The swim kicks off from the foreshore opposite Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre on Saturday.

Registration is on the William Barrett & Sons website.

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