Cold water swimming

By Paul O'Rourke

We're hosting a Winter Solstice Splash at Cataract Gorge on Sunday, June 27, to raise much-needed funds for local emergency food relief.

Participants have to raise $50 each, to be used in local food relief, for the privilege of braving the chilly gorge waters for three minutes from 9am. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.

Every dollar we raise will make two nutritious, healthy meals.

In Launceston, Loaves and Fishes delivers about 3400 kg of food each week including 800 meals and breakfast supplies through St Vincent de Paul, Anglicare, The Benevolent Society, Salvation Army, Starting Point Neighbourhood House at Racvenswood, various churches as well as Waverley Primary School, Invermay Primary School, Launceston Christian School, Kings Meadow High School, Queechy High School, St Leonard’s Primary School and Ravenswood High School.

“Despite the incredible generosity of many primary producers, supermarkets and wholesalers, we still spend about $50,000 each year on food for use in our ready-to-eat meals,” said Loaves and Fishes general manager, Aaron Kropf.

“Then there are the exorbitant costs of collecting, storing, cooking, packing, scheduling and delivering the food statewide.

“The solstice splash is one way of raising awareness and giving back to Tasmanians doing it tough.”

Jade started the solstice swim


Launceston business owner Jade Child started a solstice swim at the gorge a few years ago after being convinced of the benefits of cold-water swimming. Last year he used the event to raise money for Loaves and Fishes.

“A good mate and I had been doing a winter solstice swim for the past three years, I guess we got the idea from the MONA nude swim down in the South of Tasmania,” he said.

“I feel it’s a good way to celebrate the shortest day of the year (June 21 this year) and to start heading into longer days. Cold water is fantastic for the body and it really does make you feel alive. I can’t wait to jump in the freezing cold water in June.

“And I look forward to raising some funds for Loaves and Fishes and supporting this organisation that helps so many local people who are struggling.”

Participants have to be 18 years of age, register for the event and raise at least $50. Family, friends and co-workers can give to individuals through their profiles on the website.

Swimming costumes are mandatory.

Loaves and Fishes will provide a free bacon and egg roll to registered swimmers who take the plunge.

Loaves and Fishes uses predominantly donated produce, much of which would otherwise go to waste, and distributes the food for free statewide through more than 220 partner agencies including schools.

Annually, Loaves and Fishes delivers 800,000kg of fresh produce, 200,000 ready-to-eat meals and breakfast supplies lovingly made in the organisation’s Devonport kitchen.