Seventy reasons to inspire others
HE'S successfully conquered "bucket list'' challenges at Alcatraz, Sydney Harbour, Marseille, in Egypt and Vanuatu.
He wants to tackle an 18km swim across the Strait of Gibraltar and a 14km course between the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia.
Proud Ipswich competitor and businessman Peter McMahon is an inspiration every time he steps into the water.
While many of the events the Swim Factory owner pursues are personal conquests, he remains one of the world's best in masters competition.
That was highlighted at the recent Rescue 2014 Lifesaving World Championships in Le grand Mott in the south of France.
McMahon, 70, won a gold and a silver medal in his ocean events at his sixth world titles.
Representing Alexandra Headland, McMahon teamed with Sunshine Coast-based club partner Peter Fraser to win the 70 years plus board rescue event.
It was the pair's fourth world title in that discipline.
The swimmers are waiting for their latest medal to arrive from Holland where some technical issues over age categories were being verified.
However, McMahon has a silver medal in his safe keeping, earned in the 70 years plus surf race.
"I was the young kid on the block,'' McMahon said, thrilled with his latest performance.
"The first day was very mild.
"But the second day, there were some very strong winds coming from the Sahara Desert I think and we had metre and a half waves. It was very choppy but that's what surf lifesaving is about.''
The Ipswich swimming icon made his world championship debut at Manly in 2000, going on to win eight gold medals in individual and team events since.
Previous championships have been in Italy, Germany, Egypt and Adelaide two years ago.
He's already eyeing the next national championships, which will be his first in the 70 plus category.
"My chances are pretty good if I can keep my health going,'' the Coalfalls resident said.
"The old body is all right.''
In his 23rd year running the Swim Factory at Woodend, McMahon and his team encourage 2500 swimmers a week during peak times. As he looks to expand to a new centre at Springfield, McMahon is proud of his contribution to regional swimming.
He sets a positive example by his actions in Australia and around the world.
"Swimming has been my life,'' McMahon said, having learnt in Ipswich's old baths in Bell St and having worked with coaches like Ted Loane.
After being a Queensland representative in the 1960s, he has proven how masters swimming can be a lifelong journey that's rewarding.
"That's the great thing about swimming. We can swim as long as we can,'' he said.
McMahon still enjoys attending carnivals at surf locations like Lorne (on the Great Ocean Rd in Victoria), Noosa and Byron Bay.
In 2007, McMahon swam across rough waters in San Francisco Bay to the world famous Alcatraz Island prison.
However, true to his strong local links, he trains at Ipswich Grammar School pool, with a group of friends in the Ipswich City Masters Swimming Club.
"One of the great things in masters is the comradeship,'' McMahon said.