Making a big splash

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Brock Bevan, who first organised the group, with mascot Penny the penguin.
Camera IconBrock Bevan, who first organised the group, with mascot Penny the penguin. Credit: Picture: Holly Thompson

Swimming group Rockingham Penguins, aimed at building community connections and improving mental health, has gathered a following of almost 700 people since forming last year.

What started as a few friends going for an early morning dip has turned into a large group of residents of all ages heading to the foreshore at sunrise to kick-start their day.

Group organiser Brock Bevan said since August last year, 447 people had taken part and 696 people had joined the group Facebook page.

“The most we had at one time was 82 people on Australia Day, but we average around 30 people,” he said.

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“I initially started going swimming on my own, I had a few things going on in my life, I was struggling with the COVID-19 lockdown, I didn’t have a job and my mum got sick.

“I had so much to do but I just wasn’t doing it because of everything going on. I was awake early in the middle of winter one day and decided to go for a swim, I just told myself I was doing it.

“I felt a lot better after and got everything done for the day and knew it had been really good for me. I decided I was doing it again the next day.

“A couple of mates had been doing something similar in Cockburn and said they’d join me.”

Mr Bevan said “the power of social media” had kicked things off from there, with the group jumping off the jetty every morning, before grabbing a coffee together.

“It really is like a little community now, so many people have come to tell me how much it has helped them mentally and physically,” he said.

“The hardest bit about doing this is getting out of bed, but once you’ve done it you’re just full of beans. Everyone walks away with a smile, and it is just a great way to start the day, rain, hail or shine.”

To get involved in Rockingham Penguins, check out their Facebook page.

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