Elsie McNaughton, who swam at dawn all year around at Shelly Beach, Cronulla for more than 50 years, has died at 103.
Much loved and admired, Mrs McNaughton was known as Queen Elsie and the Queen of Hearts by members of the Brass Monkeys swimming club.
Up until recently, Mrs McNaughton resided in an independent living unit at Woolooware Shores Retirement Village, where she was still swimming laps in the village pool at 6am well after she turned 100.
She passed away peacefully. Her funeral will be held on Tuesday.
"Elsie was our matriarch and beach mother, and now she is our guardian angel," said Brass Monkeys club president Bruce Heyward.
Mr Heyward said Mrs McNaughton and her husband were among a group, which swam at Shelly Beach each morning from about 1968.
"I first met Elsie 25 years ago when I started swimming there," he said.
"When a name for the group was canvassed, it was proposed it be known as the Shelly Beach Brass Monkeys.
"There was an outcry of 'What about Elsie?' because of the strictly male connotations.
"The response was, 'OK, let's make it the Shelly Beach Brass Monkeys & Elsie'.
"That was the name we adopted, and it's on the logo on our tee shirts and winter sloppy joes.
"Elsie will be fondly remembered by all of us Brass Monkeys and forever in our hearts."
Mr Heyward recalled the poem by Thomas Ford he quoted when he was asked to say a few words at Mrs McNaughton's 100th birthday celebration:
"There is a lady sweet and kind, Was never a face so pleased my mind; I did but see her passing by. And yet I'll love her till I die."
Mrs McNaughton leaves a large family, including four children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
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