BIG SWIM: Bay dad of five to take on epic ocean challenge
HERVEY BAY'S Lars Olsen will soon complete a dream he has had since he was a child.
He will swim around Great Keppel Island, a place he visited regularly with his grandparents when he was younger.
Now a father of five, he will be part of an event on August 15 during which about 35 people will swim around the island in a total trip of about 20km.
It is the second annual Swim Around Keppel and Mr Olsen has been training for the past 10 weeks.
His longest swim in the past was 11km and he knows this will be a challenge.
Mr Olsen, 37, anticipates the swim will take him about five hours.
His brother-in-law will paddle around the island with him, providing water and nutrition to keep him going.
Mr Olsen has long had a passion for swimming, which later turned into a love for triathlons.
Fitness has always played a big role in his life and it's something he wants to pass on to his children.
He hopes finishing this challenge will inspire them to discover their own passions, as well as realising they can achieve any goal they set for themselves.
Training in the winter has been an added challenge with the cold water less than inviting.
"It's a bigger mental challenge and mind game than it is swimming in spring or summer," he said.
Mr Olsen also tested his limits by swimming in the dark, about an hour before dawn.
"At first swimming in the dark was quite freakish, thoughts do cross your mind about what's in the water," he said.
With two fatal shark attacks on the east coast of Australia in recent times, Mr Olsen said he was not worried.
He recently crashed his bike and was run over by two other cyclists, an incident he is still recovering from.
He knows having a crash on his bike or in a vehicle is far more likely than a shark attack.
"Animals live in the ocean, that's their home," he said.
"I'm just sharing it with them for a short period of time."