Like a vagabond, the Sri Chinmoy Lake Swims has roamed from place to place for several years, so it was with a welcome sense of homecoming to hoist the banner alongside the Sri Chinmoy “Dreamer of Peace” statue, and see swimmers toe the water once more at Yarralumla Bay swimming beach.
The lake has never appeared more welcoming than on this morning, a placid surface beckoning under a sky of languid blue. With ever-increasing traffic enjoying the lake on a perfect Sunday morning, and to shepherd the field as closely as possible, a 1.25km loop was selected for the occasion – swum twice for the 2.5km swim and 4 times for the 5km race, which was first to take the plunge.
In the men’s race, 17-year-old William Aikman was unchallenged from the start, swimming in clear water with decisive strokes to claim the laurel wreath in an impressive 1:15:45. Next home was local hero, Perry Blackmore, his 1:20:07 taking out the Male 50-59 category. Next home was champion swimmer Michael Brennan with 1:25:12, from Peter Debeljakovic’s 1:27:54. Vincent Dunn took 2nd place in the M50-59 with 1:31:14, with Balarka Robinson 3rd in 1:35:49. Matt Carkeet was first home in the M60-69 with 1:40:34.
Beth Bryan swam a beautifully controlled race to take out the women’s event in 1:24:10, from Emily Kempson with 1:29:57. Susie Gunning swam a marvellous race to take 3rd among all the women and establish a new course record in the F60-69 of 1:35:08 – just in front of Janelle Ahern who was first amongst F50-59s with 1:35:34, ahead of 2nd placed Kerry-Ann Michels with 1:41:19 and Susan Henderson in 2:05:13. The ever-green Janet Gorst took 2nd in the F60-69 with 1:53:59.
The 2-lap race was next to set sail, and proved a much closer contest - Kipp Kaufman, drawing away in the end to take line honours with 35:04 from 2nd placed Cameron Boland with 35:46 and Gregory Smart’s 38:14. Andrew Dawes led the Male 50-59 category with 41:32, from Peter Thorley’s 42:59 and Aston Duncan with 47:46. Grant Thomas took out the M60-69 with 48:48 from Alex Gosman’s 49:12 and Craig Kentwell with 49:43; while Terry Dixon carried the banner for the Male 70 and Over with 58:15.
Melanie Wellenberg was a fine 3rd outright in the race, while winning the women’s event in 37:21, from 2nd placed Tara Olsthoorn with 40:21 and Sabrina Moir in 41:51. Monica Lindemann was best among the F50-59 with 55:54, followed by Tina Woodward’s 57:12. The immortal Anne Smyth won the F60-69 with a fine 46:42, from Belinda Robinson’s 1:00:49; while Helen Rubin set a new record for the Women 70 and Over in the 2.5km swim with 1:25:10.
The 500 metre sprint race was won by Stephen Blake for the men in 9:38, from Sebastian Cox with 9:52 and Hannes Hollmann in 9:54; while Mikaela Cooper claimed the women’s race with 9:30, from Amanda Coggins in 10:41 and Heather Lansdowne’s 10:45.