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Brave swimmer returns

UNSTOPPABLE: C7 quadriplegic Angus O’Connor (middle) returns to Whitehaven Beach this weekend to tackle the ocean swim.
UNSTOPPABLE: C7 quadriplegic Angus O’Connor (middle) returns to Whitehaven Beach this weekend to tackle the ocean swim.

TRIATHLON: The Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim is tough enough for seasoned athletes but for Angus O'Connor, it's a whole different challenge.

The Newcastle-man is a C7 quadriplegic, meaning he has lost function from the chest down but can still use his triceps and elbows.

But this hasn't stopped him from taking on the Whitehaven swim, which he successfully conquered in 2014.

"The swim was rough last year," he said.

"It was blowing north onto the beach so it was quite choppy. I swim backstroke because my neck isn't nimble enough to do freestyle, so it was hard work in the chop.

"The water wants to go in your face and up your nose - that was hard yakka.

"But I had a great time. Everyone was happy to help."

O'Connor was paralysed two years ago, when he was hit by a car while riding his bike.

He said the incident gave him perspective, opening his eyes for the better.

"It's really amazing. When you land in this position, you get to see a really good side of people," he said.

"One of the guys carrying me out of the water (in the picture) I went to school with and the other is from my surf lifesaving club. To have people doing good for you is a really nice feeling."

Sunday's ocean swim has 750m and 2km options, as well as a 350m junior event.

Topics:  hamilton island triathlon


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