The Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim course was redesigned 2 years ago by Greg Gourley, increasing the distance to the standard Marathon Swim of 10 kilometres. Last year, due to closure of parts of Lake Burley Griffin, the event was swum around a loop course in Lake Ginninderra. Today, with Scrivener Dam spilling over following sustained rainfall, the start had to be relocated to the first transition point at Weston Park West – the first leg of the swim becoming an out-and-back triangular loop. Thus while the distance covered was the full 10km, the route actually did not span the length of the lake – hence times swum today sadly cannot be recognised as official course records.
Without any hot days to warm the lake, the water has remained stubbornly cool this year, compared with a typical November. Hence the majority of the field wisely opted to take to the water in wetsuits.
Nevertheless, 6 brave swimmers – 5 of them female – took the plunge sans wetsuit. First home was Josephine Casey in 3:15:50, from 2nd placed Hanalei Bickley with 3:22:13.
Next across the line was 1st placed Solo Male 60-69 – and only male to finish the race without a wetsuit – Ross Youngman with a fine swim of 3:28:08; while Joanne Wilson completed the podium placings for the women’s race with her 3:42:04.
Those who remained the longest in the water without the protection of a wetsuit were winners in another sense, of withstanding the cold for longest. Liz Crowhurst won the Solo Female 50-59 category with 4:30:25; while Kim Cook was 4th Solo Female home in 4:40:54.
Multiple race-winner Ned Wieland was uncomfortable in his wetsuit, so he discarded it after 5km of swimming, and still took out the race in a sleek 2:23:06, from Jake Andrews who was never far adrift of Ned, following closely in 2:23:18. Guy Boland followed with 2:33:18.
Sydney’s Isabella Coghlan swam impressively to lead all the women home in a fine 2:40:54; while Clint Pickin rounded out the sub-3 hour swimmers with 2:51:40. Ross McGarvie was 1st M50-59 with 3:02:29.
The closest competition came in the All-Female Teams, with “Tivoli girls” (Lilly McCowan, Alexandra Bullman, Polly Kirton & Claudia Williams) – 2:44:01 – just edging out “Kiwi & Kangaroo” (Melanie Wellenberg & Angharad Llewellyn) in 2:44:54.
“Bilbys Swim Squad” (Glen Sturesteps, Megan O’Neil & Alex Gosman) took the loss of one of their swimmers before the race start in their stride, to take out the Mixed Teams division in 3:09:37.
Just ahead of them were the pairing of “Rod & Reel” (Andrew Dawes & Rod Smith) who have taken out a mortgage on the All-Male Over 50 teams prize, retaining their title this year with 3:08:47, placing them first among the male teams – among the All-Male teams of unrestricted age, “Seize the carp!” (Scott McClymont, Scott Kristiansen, Lachlan McCalman & Terry Dixon) seized the main honour in 3:33:28.
Our gratitude, as always, goes to loyal helpers of this event, the Canberra Canoe Club and YMCA Sailing Club, and to Rebekah Stamatis and Paul Robey for medical support.