Gavin Rafferty.

Every Pier to Pub swim, since the inaugural event in 1981, that’s 41 consecutive swims! We hear from Gavin Rafferty, one of only two who have achieved this. He’s also a lifetime member of the Fairhaven Surf Life Saving Club. “To celebrate my 40th Pier to Pub swim in 2020, three of my eight grandkids and my two sons swam it also.

“The first Pier to Pub was part of the lunchtime entertainment at the Lorne Surf Carnival. In later years, there were also nipper activities and boat races with the swim at the end of the day. But the Pier to Pub got so huge that it had to become its own event. There is always a fabulous atmosphere with the beaches packed and cars right through town. There are so many categories of swimmers that they just keep coming all day long.

“I consider myself so lucky to have been able to turn up 41 years in a row. Besides being a member of the Surf Club for over 60 years where I swam regular surf races, I use to play water polo. To keep fit now, I swim 3 times a week. It’s good for my health and mental health, except when some young thing charges past me,” he snickers.

Gavin was a teacher and Principal. He laughs thinking back to the rural schools where pools were often a long way away. Spending all his Christmas holidays at Fairhaven enabled him to train leading up to the swim. “That time of year in Lorne, there are a group who swim the route each weekend morning at 8am.

“The swim has been much better since we’ve been allowed to wear wetsuits. I remember the time, about 20 years ago, when the winner was disqualified for wearing one. Also, in all the years, it has only been postponed once because of bad weather. Mind you, this year it was a virtual event.

He wears his ‘Lorne Pier to Pub, Shark Bait Club, 40’ shirt proudly. There are only 3 in the club who have swum over 40 swims. He is also very proud of the small trophy he received in 1984 for coming second in the over-40 category.

Gavin has experienced many life transitions. His three children have grown up and moved out, he’s retired and moved from the family home to a unit but he has found being active and swimming has helped him to feel healthy and connected. He also enjoys making a difference by being part of The Aspree Program and Barwon Health’s Bone Density Program. Both programs record health data which is used now and into the future.

“I like to think it is doing good somewhere, it helps other and possibly myself.”

#LifeChanges #KeepMoving #humansingeelong

Photo: Phil Hines Photography