SWIMMING has become a family sport for Kim and Mark Everingham of Cundletown.
Last season Kim made a comeback to competitive swimming after a 40 year break, linking with the Taree Torpedoes. That's promoted husband, Mark to literally take the plunge.
"I was a swimmer back in the school days at Chatham High, that was a few years ago,'' Mark said.
"When Kim joined the Torpedoes I was going along to watch her at club nights. I decided if I was going to go and watch, I might as well join in, because it would be good for my fitness.
So last May he joined and lined up for races with fellow club swimmers, the majority young enough to be his grandchildren.
"Everyone's good, we line-up before the events and everyone says G'day. When I started I did a couple of 50 metre races and I've worked up from there,'' he said.
When his job with the RFS allows, Mark swims twice a week apart from the club night. He went from the pool to surf about six weeks ago. Kim is also a keen ocean swimmer and Mark joined her in the event at Shoal Bay.
"I just went in the 500 metre event, Kim the two and half kilometre one with her daughter. I knew I couldn't swim that far,'' he said.
"I managed to do that alright.''
From there the Everinghams progressed to the Hat Head ocean event. Mark signed on for the two kilometre race, along with Kim.
"I thought I'd give it a crack, there were a couple of sandbars there so I could have break'' he said.
"And having the tide coming in made it a little bit easier. I floated along a bit, did a bit of dog paddling and fumbled through.''
He completed the journey in 37.38, Kim 30.16.
Kim was in the ocean swim at Coffs Harbour last year and aims to head there again in April. She's suggested that Mark join her, although at this stage he's not so sure.
"There's no sandbars in the Coffs Harbour jetty,'' he said.
"At Hat Head they had lifesavers there on surf skis, so if you got puffed you went over and held on for a while. I have no doubt it would be the same at Coffs, if you get tired you can hold onto something...preferably not another swimmer.''
Mark and Kim did the Port Macquarie masters swim last year and competing in similar events is on the agenda.
"I finished third in one event and had some good times in a couple of others,'' he said.
Mark says clocking a personal best time is encouraging, but not the be all and end all.
"I want to get a little bit better every time I swim. I'm 66 - the oldest member of the Torpedoes, but I keep plodding along and when I get puffed I stop for a breather. It's good fun and good for fitness. And swimming is something that Kim and I enjoy together.''