Canberra-bashing is a thing. Mostly it’s do to with politics and the thought-bubble that ”Canberra” is responsible for all the country’s woes, real and perceived. Yet the outlook from Yarralumla Bay swimming area on Sunday 18 February 2018, would have melted even the crustiest Canberra-sceptic into an avid Canberra-lover.
In the 31 year history of Sri Chinmoy Lake Swims at Yarralumla Bay, no-one could remember a better day. Warm, crystal-clear, radiant, the water calm and inviting, the very air smiling with contentment: swimmers and spectators alike were treated to Canberra at its very best on a perfect late-Summer’s morning.
The standout swim of the day came from Grace Hoitink. Grace was too classy for the entire field to take out the 2.5km race outright in 35:41, smashing the women’s course record in the process. Melanie Wellenberg’s 36:43 brought her 2nd in the Female Under 50 and 4th overall. Anne Smyth took out the Female 50-59 in 44:04; and Clare Wall the Female 60-69 with 1:07:12.
James Johnston won the Male Under 50 category, and 2nd place outright in the 2.5km race in 35:54, from Nicholas Grinter’s 36:13. Andrew Dawes won the Male 50-59 with 39:02; Tim Booth the Male 60-69 in 46:48; and Terry Dixon the Male 70 and Over with an excellent swim of 49:38.
The 5 km men’s swim saw a tremendous race between elite swimmers Benjamin Freeman and Ned Wieland, with Ben winning in the end in 1:06:10 from Ned’s 1:06:16. The same two had placed first and second in last year’s 5km race, with a winning margin of 4 minutes: by closing that gap to a mere 6 seconds, Ned has placed Ben on notice! Ned’s father, Mark Wieland took out the Male 50-59 in 1:21:51; and Greg Gourley the Male 60-69 in a sprightly 1:36:30.
Meanwhile the women’s 5km race went to Caitlin Risstrom in 1:21:49 from Nicola Johnstone’s 1:28:42. Suzy Gunning was the winner of the Female 50-59 in 1:36:24. One of the closest finishes came in the Female 60-69 category which saw a magnificent race between Pauline English (1:50:48) and Janet Gorst (1:51:09).
In the curtain-raiser event, the 500 metre swim, Oscar Morgan was first overall and won the Boys Under 17 in 8:41; Thomas Palmer took out the Boys Under 13 with 9:18; and Ronald Miller the Male 17 and Over with 9:11.
Charlotte Hyett took out the Girls Under 13 with 10:56; Natasha Tilley the Girls Under 17 in 10:14; and Leisa Cass won the Female 17 and Over with 9:13.