Sheppard links up with Ocean Grove swim

Swim race coup: Six-time Pier to Pub Lorne race winner Sam Sheppard. 159124

By Mark Heenan

SIX-time Pier to Pub winner Sam Sheppard says he is delighted to be an ambassador at the inaugural Ocean Grove SLSC open water swim this summer.
The Ocean Swim Challenge takes place on Sunday 29 January, next year.
Sheppard posted the fastest time in the history of the iconic 1.2km Lorne Pier to Pub at the start of 2016 and almost broke the magical 10-minute mark with his time of 10.02.
Outside his feats at Australia’s most popular open water swim at Lorne, Sheppard has won Jan Juc SLSC’s Danger 1000 and the Anglesea-based Rock2Ramp swim.
Sheppard said it is a thrill to be involved in the first Ocean Swim Challenge at Ocean Grove.
“I have been pretty close with a lot of Ocean Grove people through past years with my surf life saving as I have been a member of the Jan Juc SLSC for 10 years,” Sheppard told the Voice.
“I am really looking to it and helping out with Ocean Grove, hopefully get more than 1000 swimmers down there and just build a great atmosphere.
“It will be a great summer event and get a lot of public interest around it.
“The new Ocean Grove swim will be fun.”
After his stunning success in last season’s open water swims, it was a tough start to 2016 for Sheppard, who narrowly missed out on selection at the Rio Olympics.
Two years ago the Melbourne-based Sheppard relocated to the Gold Coast with his dream to compete at the 10km open water swim at this year’s Rio Olympic Games.
Sheppard participated in Russia as part of the Australian Swim Team in 2015.
He competed at the Olympic trials in February but took a break when the games were on in August.
“Sadly I missed out in Rio so this year I have tried to knuckle down with my university work and finish my honours,” he said.
“I did have a big break and was over in the US and Hawaii having a bit of a holiday while Rio Olympics was on because I kind to wanted to get away from it all.
“They show the ones who make the Olympics, but obviously there are the ones that just miss out, like me.”
Currently he clocks up to 20-30kms in the pool, but will increase his swimming training once he completes his university honours degree at the end of 2016.
Sheppard is completing an Environmental Science honours degree at Latrobe University in Melbourne, works part-time and spends his weekends on the Surf Coast at Jan Juc.