A change is as good as a holiday, and sometimes enforced change can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. So it was with the 2019 Sri Chinmoy Lake Swims, which were not able to be held at the traditional venue of Yarralumla Bay due to concerns with lake water quality. The move across the Molonglo to Black Mountain Peninsula swimming area proved a delightful and fortuitous surprise.
Due to the comparative narrows of Tarcoola Reach (between Black Mountain Peninsula and Weston Park), the loop had to be reduced to 1.25km, meaning that the 2.5km comprised 2 laps while the 5km swimmers would go around 4 times. An advantage of this reduction meant that shore-bound spectators could witness much more of the on-course action throughout the races. A light breeze created some wavy waters in the mid-lake but otherwise competitors found the course relatively fast and easy. Rowers were especially polite and patient in accommodating the new species found in their habitat – swimmers.
Ned Wieland raced unchallenged in the men’s 5km event to just miss the 1-hour mark with a superb outing of 1:00:33, from 2nd Nicholas Alnutt in 1:03:35 and Nicholas Grinter’s 3rd-placed 1:09:11. In the Male 50-59, Lloyd Dobson won a tight race in 1:17:03 from Ned’s father, Mark Wieland in 1:17:29. The Male 60-69 proved a blue-ribbon category, with Keith Bennett taking the honours in 1:26:57 from Alex Gosman’s 1:32:38.
Caitlin Risstrom took out the women’s 5km race in a fine 1:13:09, from Georgy Falster in 1:18:35 and Joanne Wilson with 1:26:02. Caroline Makin was 2nd woman outright, in comprehensively winning the Female 50-59 category in 1:16:09; while Petrina Quinn took out the Female 60-69 with her 1:53:53. Helen Rubin from Sydney was the back-marker ensuring the lake was all clear, in 2:19:42.
Melanie Wellenberg was 3rd placed outright in the 2.5km swim, taking out the Women’s race comfortably with an emphatic swim of 34:20, from 2nd placed Tracy Clinch in 37:48 and Ellie Barrett with 39:20. Anne Smyth was 3rd overall among all the women, her fine 38:54 taking out the Female 50-59 category. Clare Wall meanwhile won the Female 60-69, coming in under the hour with 59:49.
Ben Freeman proved his class once again in the men’s 2.5km swim, completing the 2 laps in 33:03, from Greg Smart’s 34:12 and Guy Boland in 35:10. Goulburn’s Andrew Dawes fronted a competitive Male 50-59 field with an impressive 36:11, from Steve Whan in 38:17, with Neil Bowman completing the podium placings in 42:18. Daryl McGill took out the Male 60-69 with 52:41, while evergreen Geoff Llewellyn – who is well over 80 – was unchallenged in the Male 70 and Over category to sweep home in 1:14:25. Stalwart Lachlan Lewis was the sheepdog to the 2.5km field, rounding them up in 1:36:37.
The 500m swim was straight out and back today, with the return swim directly towards the rising sun posing an added challenge. The most competitive category today was the Boys Under 17, producing 3 of the first 4 placings: outright winner Alex Amon in 8:01, from Oscar Morgan in 8:43 and Gian Bonansea with 9:35. Crashing the boys’ party however, and taking 2nd place outright was a brilliant swim from Girls Under 13’s Madison Amon in 8:33, from Eliza Lawton’s 15:15. Luca Auzins won the Boys Under 13 with 15:17, just ahead of his dad Edwin who earned 2nd placing in the Male 17 and Over with 15:19, after 1st placed Phillip Livingstone’s 14:38. Heather Lansdowne took out the Female 17 and Over category in 10:06, from Anita Godley’s 11:11 and Emily Hanckel-Spice in 11:18.
Our gratitude to the Canberra Canoe Club for on-water support today, and to all helpers from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team.