WINNER, WINNER: An ecstatic Hugh Dougherty lets out a roar after winning the 2km main event during the annual Yamba Ocean Swims at Main Beach, Yamba.
WINNER, WINNER: An ecstatic Hugh Dougherty lets out a roar after winning the 2km main event during the annual Yamba Ocean Swims at Main Beach, Yamba. Matthew Elkerton

Lady luck shines on former ironman champion

OCEAN SWIMS: When the bodies rose from the water for the first time in the 2km event at the Yamba Ocean Swims, it would be a familiar face charging up the sands.

One of Yamba's favourite sons, and former Nutrigrain Ironman stalwart Hugh Dougherty was cheered up to the flags as he took out the main event at the Yamba Ocean Swims from Coffs Harbour Surf Club's Nick Bulloch.

It was a proud - if not unexpected - moment for Dougherty who is a third-generation member at the Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club.

But having given away structured swimming training more than 18 months ago, Dougherty had entered the Ocean Swims as a bit of holiday fun, with no expectations.

"I don't know how long it has been, it could easily be more than five years since I last won it, I just know it has been a while,” he said.

"I haven't been in the pool for over 18 months. I was a bit unsure how I was going to go, but I managed to get a bit of luck out in the surf and that was good enough to win it.”

Dougherty sat in the top four on the final turn into Main Beach, but with the two leaders pulling clear by more than 20m it seemed the result had been sewn up. Still, Dougherty refused to give up hope.

"I knew there was a good wave running, and I didn't know the guys leading. They might not know the beach, they might not be able to body surf,” he said.

"I thought there is still always a chance, I never gave up and a wave just produced at the right time.”

Northcliff rising star of the waves, Toby Redler rounded out the top three half a minute behind.

In the women's event it was back-to-back crownings for Coffs Harbour open water swimmer Meegan Hoare, who swims as part of the Grimsey Adult Swim Fit team.

Former Yamba nipper Kalani Ives was a minute behind her with Cudgen's Olissa Onley third.

OCEAN SWIM RESULTS

700m Convent to Convent

Men

Lachlan WALKER (Alstonville Swimming Club)

Nick BULLOCH (Coffs Harbour SLSC)

Ben JIMMIESON (Grace, Queensland)

Women

Meegan HOARE (Grimsy Adult Swim Fit)

Gemma JOHNSON (Byron Bay SLSC)

Elise BEAUMONT (Thirroul SLSC)

2km Convent to Main

Men

Hugh DOUGHERTY (Tugun SLSC)

Nick BULLOCH (Coffs Harbour SLSC)

Toby REDLER (Northcliff SLSC)

Women

Meegan HOARE (Grimsy Adult Swim Fit)

Kalani IVES (Cudgen SLSC)

Olissa ONLEY (Cudgen SLSC)



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