LOCAL surf club members and other first responders did everything they could to save the life of veteran political journalist, Michael Gordon, who died while competing in the 1.2km Phillip Island Penguin Swim Classic last Saturday morning, February 3.
According to an eye-witnesses to the tragedy, Gordon was nearing the end of the race when surf club members in a rescue craft noticed a competitor stop swimming near the last buoy, about 200 metres from the finish in front of the North Pier Hotel, formerly the Continental.
Without delay they picked him up and within a minute were on the beach trying to resuscitate him but despite using all emergency equipment available to them, until ambulances arrived, Mr Gordon was unable to be revived.
Out of respect to the deceased and his family and also emergency services personnel, the afternoon running of the second event in the Bass Coast Summer Series, the Cowes Classic was abandoned for the day and will now be staged on Sunday, March 18.
Following news of the incident, tributes have flowed for the 62 year old career journalist who retired last year as political editor of The Age, where he had worked for 37 years.
Retirement gave him the opportunity to spend more time in his home in the Bass Hills and also to spend more time with his first love, surfing.
Chief among the mourners have been several Australian Prime Ministers but the tributes have flowed locally as well, from the local surfing and sporting fraternity.
Mr Gordon was a long-term supporter of the swim/run events on the Island and was in fact the inaugural winner of the San Remo Channel Challenge in 1986 and is well-known, liked and respected by fellow competitors, especially those in his masters age group.
Tragedy at Penguin Classic at Cowes