Sarah Nicol

Summer Ocean Swim 2km 2024

My Activity Tracking


There are scarier things in the ocean than sharks...

A couple of weeks ago I was on a long weekend break in Terrigal and i joined a swimming group from Terrigal beach.  I reached out to them on Facebook and they were so welcoming so I joined for a 7am swim. We swam out the bay and around to the skillion.  It wasn't the easiest swim but it was absolutely beautiful.  The water was so much more shallow than I expected and we even saw a turtle!! The fish were amazing and colourful and one of the group saw an eagle ray!!
Anyway, as we were swimming, i got a few tingles in my swimming costume.  I thought nothing of it and kept swimming.  All up we did about 2.5km and after stopping for a few pics out of the bay area, it took about 1.5 hours.  Such a great way to start a Friday.
I then went for breakfast with my son and husband, we wandered the shops for a while before heading back to our apartment.  

A few hours later, I started to itch.  I got more itchy, and more itchy and everywhere my one piece costume had been on my skin was covered in tiny little bites that were so itchy i was almost scratching my skin off.  I had been attacked by sea lice.  They get into your swimming costume and sting you. They're actually jellyfish lava and the itch was almost unbearable.  I had had plans to swim every day with the Terrigal group but I was unable to get back in the water again because of the sting and the pain.  That night i sat in a cold shower from about 2am because I couldn't sleep.  It was just awful.
The sting lasted about 4 days.  The bites can last A MONTH!! Thankfully, 2 weeks later they have almost completely gone now but I have certainly learnt my lesson.
Firstly, I will not be wearing a one piece in the ocean again where the little suckers can get into your costume and sting you and secondly, I will not leave my cossies on post swim.  I'll get out and take them off and have a cold shower immediately!! 

I am certainly more scared of sea lice than I am sharks - who would have thought!!

First Ocean Swim

I have spent my whole life at the beach.  Hot days - go to the beach.  Holidays - book somewhere near the beach. Let's go for a walk - let's go to the beach. Unwind after work - go to the beach. Catch up with friends - go to the beach.  
I love the ocean.  It brings me so much calm and I often see the water and just have this overwhelming urge to jump in.  

The first day of ocean swim training, I was nervous.  I had never been out past the break to swim.  I am very confident in the surf and to identify rips and swim under the big waves.  But swimming out the back.. that was new to me.

After a few lessons on the most effective way to get out the back past the surf, we were out the back and feeling very far from the shore.  I'm sure I would have been nervous if I was alone, however in our big group and the water safety team, I was feeling great.  Then we started our swim.  Not far, maybe a few hundred metres or so and the back.  Of course, I got stung by a jellyfish.  I've never had a sting before and I got such a shock.  It was like an electric shock up my arm and I was a bit confused.  I didn't see it and it was unlike anything I had felt before so I kind of splashed about then kept swimming.  

After the session, I looked at my forearm and I could see where the tentacles had been.  About an hour later, it turned into this big red raised bumpy rash that was unbelievably itchy!! For 2 weeks!! It was awful.  One of the other girls told me it was probably a jimbel (never heard of that before) and I googled it and yes, that was exactly what my rash looked like. 

Anyway, I survived and my next ocean swim. 

Why am I doing this?

Earlier this year, I injured my back.  I have had back problems for a long time and after having a baby my back issues got progressively worse.  
My dr recommended swimming.  Swim, swim swim.  
I know how to swim and I love to swim but I hadn't actively swum laps for many years.  I would say since school.  I found another charity who were raising money by swimming 20km in a month so I signed up and started swimming.  
It took me a while to build up my confidence and I would aim for 1km 3 times a week. In my local 25m pool this was 40 laps.
I then started to push myself to 60 laps and that would be my minimum.  I made the 20km in 26 days (I even had taken a week off for a holiday in this time) and since then I have been addicted. 
To me, swimming is a mental game.  I swim in groups of 20 laps.  Get through 20, then the next 20.  
I took some time off around May and June to have back surgery and since then I have been working up to 2.5km - 3km about 3-4 times a week.  

Before swimming and before my back injury, I loved to weight train.  That was my thing.  I would train 5/6 times a week and at one point I was about to compete in a bodybuilding competition (that got cancelled because of covid lockdowns).  When I found swimming, I loved to have something to focus on.  A goal.  A challenge to build my fitness and strength in the water.  Physically and mentally.  It gave me pain relief from the constant agony of my back, and it also gave me mental relief and a physical challenge.  

Lap swimming is so different to anything I've done before. I'm left alone with my thoughts.  All I can think about are the strokes, the line on the bottom of the pool and breathing.  Stroke, Stroke, Stroke, Breathe.  And repeat.  

Aside from the physical benefits I have seen from swimming, the mental benefits have been immense.  It's like meditation.  Time where I cannot think of anything else but breathing and stroking.  A few days without swimming now and I get a bit itchy for a swim.  I need to get in the pool to clear my mind.  It's a hard reset for my brain.  

So that leads me to Can Too.  
I really wanted a new challenge.  A swimming challenge.  I am obsessed with the ocean and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try ocean swimming.  After dinner with a friend and talking about maybe just trying ocean swimming but not knowing where to start she mentioned that some of her clients have done Can Too and they loved it.  Not only is it a supportive environment where there is a group of people who are all trying to achieve the same goal, they are all working to raise money for a really worthy cause.  
I was instantly excited to get involved and I signed up at the 11th hour (just in time for week 1 training) and have loved every minute since.  Swimming can be such a lonely sport and I have found so much enjoyment out of meeting new people and swimming together in the pool and in the ocean.  

Next February, I am swimming three ocean swims.  Whale Beach, Bondi Beach and Shark Island (Cronulla).  These are between 2km - 2.8km ocean swims. 

I have a goal to raise $1,360 for Cancer research. 
If you can, please consider donating to this cause.  1 in 4 people will be diagnosed with Cancer in their lifetime and Can Too are working to invest in research to better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.  

I am so grateful for any donation to support me on this journey and the work that Can Too do.

Supporting Can Too Foundation

I'm supporting cancer research and prevention with Can Too Foundation. 

1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. This means that potentially someone we love may have to battle cancer, and that's a statistic that needs to change. 

So I asked myself, "what can I do to help?" That's where the Can Too Foundation came in! Can Too provides professionally coached training programs for participants of any fitness level to run, swim and cycle their way to a healthier lifestyle and a cancer-free world. 

In return, I am raising valuable funds that go towards innovation in the prevention, care, and control of cancer. Since 2005, Can Too Foundation has trained over 18,000 participants and raised over $25,000,000 to invest in over 200 one-year cancer research grants.

It would be fantastic if you could sponsor me, or even better join me in a program!

Thank you for your support!


Thank you to my Sponsors


Kyle Nicol

A Phelps in the making xx


Linda& Ashley Berry

Wonderful effort Sarah xxx


Clare Botherway

You go girlfriend!


Davies Family

you are a remarkable young woman and Cantoo is an incredible charity who makes a real difference


Deb And Jeff

Well done Sarah! Incredible dedication to train for ocean swimming!


Ben Pomery

Wow inspirational


Niknakmac Xx

Just keep swimminnnn


Rach, Gav And The Mckenzie Kids Xxx

Good luck Sarah!! Great effort for a great cause, well done xx


Phoebe Duncombe

Such a rockstar. Incredible story, incredible cause xxx


Yvette And Xenia

You are crazy in all the right ways


The Greenwoods

We love you, you amazing human!



Well done Sarah!




Rich C


Grant Nicol

Good luck Sarah! Grant, Steph and


The Mcgeoghegans

Incredibly proud of you girl 🫶 Such an amazing achievement for such a good cause. Wishing you the best of luck 🤞🏻 Love from Gemma, Mags and Ava xxx


James Baker


Carrie Lamont

Keep swimming Sarah!! We are so proud of you and inspired by your determination to keep being challenged. Lots of love and luck The Lamonts x


Emma Gair

Hey Sarah, we just want to say Good Luck 🍀🤞🏻 for all of your upcoming swims! You're so strong and you have amazing mental determination to keep going even with your back recovery and all of those sea lice to contend with!!! Cancer Research is such a worthy cause too. Sending lots of love from Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Em, Andy, Jude & Iris xxxx



Good luck Sar!


The Hollands

Amazing work Sar!


Annmarie Fox

Well done darling ❤️


Ellen Davis

You are amazing Sarah!


Vicky Putt

Loved reading your back story on swimming! Makes me want to try an ocean swim 😜 amazing effort and great cause xox


Adrienn Teunissen


Joe Romo

Well done Sarah! Proud of you!


Cheryl W

So so so happy for you, just incredible you awesome human!