MELMERBY BEACH – Even Sharpe is adapting to swimming in open water.
The local athlete, who earned four medals at the 2017 Special Olympics Nova Scotia Summer Games in Antigonish, is getting used to swimming in places besides competitive indoor pools. It helped him prepare for his part in the 2017 Melmerby Triathlon on Sunday.
Sharpe was in the shorter team sprint event, as opposed to the Olympic distances for the swim, bike and run disciplines that comprise a triathlon.
“I love it,” he said. “I just keep exercising.”
The opportunity to try open water swimming came when Sharpe’s mother contacted local athlete Kevin Tulloch in late June to supervise him.
“Evan’s a very good swimmer,” Tulloch said. “He never swam in the ocean before, and his mother felt I’m the guy to get him started. I didn’t have to teach him how to swim. I just had to get him here. He’s been here six times. Now he’s ready. He’s absolutely ready.”
Sharpe said he’s past the uneasiness he felt about ocean swimming.
“I swam four times here and I got over it,” he said.
Sharpe had teammates for the bike and run lined up for the team event. When they weren’t available, local athlete Matt Fraser offered to do both the cycling and running portions.
“That was good of Matt to step up,” Tulloch said.
The Melmerby Triathlon features the sprint event with a 750-metre swim, 23-km bike course and 5-K run.
Tulloch made good on his offer on Sunday to swim with Sharpe in his event before beginning his Olympic triathlon.
“It was fantastic,” Sharpe said. “I feel great.”
Tulloch said he was proud of how Sharpe overcame the choppy water created by headwinds during the swim.
“He was awesome,” Tulloch said. “It was a rough old sea out there. The waves were hitting you into the wind.”
Kevin Tulloch, centre, is ready to give Evan Sharpe, right, two high fives for completing the 750-metre swimming as part of Sharpe’s participation in the team sprint on Sunday during the 2017 Melmerby Triathlon. (Goodwin photo)