In his 70s, Peter still conquering the world
THE 40 plus medals Ipswich swimming icon Peter McMahon has hanging in his office capture countless achievements around the world.
It's a fine collection marking his challenges and successes, mainly in swimming and triathlon competitions over the past 40 years.
Two more medals have been added to the impressive line-up after McMahon's latest international success.
He recently returned from Holland where he won a team gold and individual bronze at the Rescue 2016 Lifesaving Championships.
With his regular international paddling partner Peter Fraser, McMahon collected his sixth world title in the board rescue event.
Earlier on the same day, the Swim Factory owner came third in his 70 plus years surf race in Amsterdam waters. He had to swim 400m out around two sets of cans and back to the beach.
He was pleased with his effort having received little chance to warm up in the 18 degree water temperature.
"As you get older, you need warm ups,'' he said.
"It was not big surf, just messy surf.''
McMahon's latest world conquest came after previous successes at similar ocean events since 2000 in Australia, Italy, Germany and Egypt.
Before heading to Holland, McMahon contested a tradition-rich open water Coppa Byron swim trek in Italy.
"I've never swam seven and a half k in my life,'' he said. "So the 6 and 7k mark was a bit rude but when you see the finish line, it's okay.''
He had previously done similar open water events at Alcatraz, Sydney Harbour, Marseille and Vanuatu.
But while admitting his speed is waning, McMahon's enthusiasm remains as high as ever.
"I just enjoy my swimming,'' the Ipswich businessman and dedicated competitor said.
"The wonderful part about it is that we're good friends until the gun goes.''
Owning Swim Factory complexes at Woodend and Springfield, McMahon leads by example.
"Swimming is just my natural form,'' he said. "I can't run anymore so swimming is just my special attribute."
McMahon regularly swims with colleagues on the Sunshine Coast and at other events around Australia.
"It's the sharing of like-minded people,'' he said.
"My catch call in this place (McMahon's Swim Factory) is swimming is an asset for life.''
McMahon said while other sportspeople were unable to continue competing into their seventies, swimming offered fun and competition indefinitely.
"For an ongoing lifestyle, the aquatic activities are important,'' he said.
"The aerobic benefits are significant.''
He encourages young people learning to swim to enjoy it, especially in Ipswich's favourable climate.
"It's part of our lifestyle,'' he said.
His future goals include a 6.5km swim in different water conditions in Turkey and some open swims in Hawaii.
The next rescue lifesaving world championships are in Adelaide in 2018.
Caring for the community
AS masters swimming stalwart McMahon settles back into Ipswich life after his latest world championship success, two events occupy his mind.
The first is this weekend's Swimathon in memory of Ipswich youngster Harper James Hockings, who tragically drowned in 2008.
Saturday's activities at the Swim Factory at Woodend are between 8am and 2pm, doubling as a fundraiser for Ipswich Hospice Care.
Ipswich's Olympic silver medallist Leah Neale, whose family has strong ties to the Swim Factory, is planning a demo swim.
A celebrity race and other fun events are planned.
Re-elected Hospice chairman McMahon is a keen supporter of community events, being involved with other organisations like the Ipswich Hospital Foundation and Ipswich City Rotary Club.
That's why the annual Tuffkidz series coming up on October 23 is important.
It gives youngsters a safe and supportive environment to learn about triathlons as an individual or part of a team. The legs are swimming, riding and running.
The Sunday event later this month offers a range of events at different standards for children from prep to high school.
It is being held at Ipswich State High at Brassall, which has the pool, oval and internal bitumen paths to conduct the races from 7am.
All finishers receive a Tuffkidz medallion and go in the draw for a chance to win a bike and other prizes.
Visit www.ihfoundation.org.au for more information or contact the Ipswich Hospital Foundation on 1300 736428.