The search for Paul Millachip, who was swimming at Port Beach near Perth on Saturday, has been called off.
His wife, who did not wish to be named, told Australian broadcasters of her thanks for the efforts of teenagers on a nearby boat who helped raise the alarm.
Speaking on Sunday, she said: “A special mention to those young lads in the boat for what they did in what must have been an absolutely terrifying experience for them, so my heart goes out to them and I thank them for what they did.
“Rest in peace, Paul. He died (doing) what he enjoyed doing the most, which was exercising. He was a wonderful man, a wonderful father, and he loved his exercise.”
She added both their families were currently overseas and said she was grateful for the support from her local friends.
“I also just wanted to say thank you to all of our friends here in Perth for all the support and love that you’ve shown us and that’s really appreciated because both of our families are overseas and obviously we’ve been talking to them as well, but it’s hard because they may not be able to travel here to be with us,” she said, adding she was also appreciative for the work of police and other emergency services.
“We’ve been through in quite a lot of detail what they’ve been doing and how the search has panned out, and they’ve been extremely thorough and extremely professional and we’re really, really grateful for that.
“I wanted to thank also the eyewitnesses, there’s a number of eyewitnesses who have given very, very valuable accounts and that’s helped piece together what’s happened, so we can be very clear that it was actually Paul involved.
“It came out of the blue. But it did happen, you just have to deal with it.”
Acting inspector Troy Douglas has previously said the father-of-two was a regular at the beach and that a pair of goggles believed to belong to him had been recovered.
He added: “Enquiries will continue based on anything that is washed up or anything that’s found in the future, but at this point the marine search is suspended.”