The second annual Dip for Dempsey has raised more than $10,000.
Nick Dempsey was still recovering from his accident in hospital last year when 141 swimmers took to Lake Hume at Bonegilla for the inaugural event.
On Friday, Nick was among the onlookers at the shore of the Albury-Wodonga Yacht Club.
“I was still in rehab this time last year, so it’s much better to be able to get down here,” he said.
“Last year they were struggling to see where dad was coming in, so I’m here to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t drown – he’s very happy there’s a 500-metre swim.”
The event was made even better with Nick recently celebrating a personal achievement.
“I’ve been wanting to try a manual wheelchair for a while so I went down to Melbourne,” he said.
“When I said I wanted to have a go they were a bit hesitant.
“I didn’t have high hopes but could do it more than I thought.
“I found a secondhand one online and bought it so I have one at home now to push around on the tiles – I’m buggered when I’m finished, its the best workout I can do and really good to get your brain in the habitat of moving your arms – it’s moving towards getting out of the powered chair and into the manual chair full-time.”
More than $10,000 was raised for the Nick’s Journey charity by 140 swimmers participating in junior, 500-metre and two kilometre races.
Nathan Rodgers won the two-kilometre open swim while Olivia Beltrame was the first female, both coming in at just over 30 minutes, with the addition of electronic timing taking it to the second.
Dip for Dempsey organising committee member Jade Clark said it was hoped the swim would grow.
“We’ve had people from Shepparton and Canberra come to the event and we really want this open water swim to be part of the calendar,” he said.
“We had the Big Splash during the week, which is probably more of a local event, but we’re looking to partner with the triathlon community and have a running race in the same weekend and give people even more reason to come over.
“We created the 500 metre as a bit of an entry level event for new people who aren’t as experienced swimmers.
“Thank you to our sponsors and everyone who came and hopefully this event gets bigger and better year on year.”
Nick said he was extremely grateful for the support.
“I could go on for a long time about people to thank – from Nash Clark and the committee that’s helped organise the swim, to people who came.”