Coast swimmer aiming to take on 'impossible feat'
INSANE might just be the word to describe Buderim resident Sam Penny, but that's only scraping the tip of the iceberg.
"I have people telling me I'm crazy every day, but for me it's not, it's just another step up from what I've done before," he said.
Blitzing the extremely tough English Channel swim in 11 hours and two minutes last year wasn't enough for Mr Penny.
He's going to do it again. Twice.
"Only about 20 people in the whole world have completed a double crossing before, so fingers crossed I get there," he said.
Preparing for the icy seas from England to France proves to be tough on our Sunny Coast, yet Mr Penny found a stroke of luck.
He will use this year's Sunshine Coast Solstice Swim at Alexandra Headland to train for the almost-impossible feat in July 2020.
Mr Penny said plunging into Coast's winter seas for charity was a highlight on his swimming calendar.
"Being able to raise money and bring the community together to share a common cause and passion is a no brainer," he said.
"It's just something you have to be apart of, especially for us who train for the English Channel."
In a "proud dad moment", Mr Penny will tackle the open ocean swim with his children.
"As a parent there's nothing more exciting than being able to do these kinds of things with your kids.
"Just being able to swim stroke to stroke with them by your side keeps my passion for it going," he said.
The man on a mission will also attempt one of the toughest swimming tests on the planet, the Ice Mile, less than a week before the Solstice Swim.
If successful, the mile non-stop swim in water less than five degrees at Thredbo will see Mr Penny be the fifth Australian to complete the task.
"Hopefully I've thawed out by the time the Solstice Swim rolls around," he said.
Although Mr Penny's upcoming challenges seem too hard to handle, he boils it down to sheer determination.
"Two years ago I would have struggled swimming a 1km race, but now here I am preparing for a 68km swim.
"It just goes to show that if you take the small steps and build yourself up, who knows what you can do," he said.
The annual Solstice Swim is organised by the selfless volunteers of the Alexandra Headland Rotary Club.
This year, the club decided to raise money for domestic violence charity, White Ribbon.
Member Tanya Murphy was thrilled to hear of Mr Penny's valour in completing the chilly ocean swim.
"It's fantastic to hear someone like Sam who is putting so much energy and determination into it is doing the swim," she said. "It's mind-blowing for me."
"It makes me smile to know that what we're doing is helping people not only in domestic violence situations, but helping people achieve their goals in the community."
The event will be on July 7, from 8am-2pm, beginning at the Alex Surf Club.
Search Sunshine Coast Solstice Swim on Facebook for more, or contact the Rotary Club for tickets.