Anyone who faced Shane Warne bowling in his prime will appreciate the varied challenges facing Canberra’s open-water swimmers and event organisers alike. The vagaries and fluctuations of water quality in our lakes and rivers constantly surprise, flummox and test the fortitude, equanimity and flexibility as much as any wrong-un or flipper served up by the Sheikh of Tweak himself.
Fortunately, adaptability is a prime quality of endurance athletes, so the shaded glade alongside the old Ferry Terminal at Acton overlooking a glass-tabletop lake welcomed an intimate, relaxed and grateful gathering to fully savour these rare conditions at one of the only beaches in the ACT open to swimming on this glorious morning. A 1.25km triangular course nestled neatly in the placid bay between Commonwealth Ave Bridge and the National Museum with no wind or traffic of any kind made for a clear, easily navigable route.
Michael Brennan interrupted his morning long training ride to swim 5km, as part of his training for the Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic in Jindabyne 2 weeks from now – and duly set a blistering early pace to establish enough of a lead to win in 1:19:07, and hold off the challenge from a strong Cristhian Molendowski in 1:19:48, with Brendon Tasker finishing 3rd with 1:32:52. Lloyd Dobson meanwhile took out the Male 50-59 (and 3rd outright) in 1:27:13; Bob Welldon the Male 60-69 with 1:50:04; and the indefatigable Terry Dixon the Male 70 and Over, moments after Bob in 1:51:16.
Janelle Ahern was fastest among the women 5km swimmers, taking line honours with a smooth 1:34:34 from the consistent Laura Marshall in 1:42:33 and Claire Stutchbury with 1:51:45. Tricia Bowman won the Female 50-59 in 1:41:19; and Janet Gorst the Female 60-69 with 1:58:48.
The 2-lap 2.5km swim saw an impressive win in the Under 50 men’s race from Greg Smart with 38:03, from Chris Boardman’s 46:01 and Max Heffernan in 46:57. Andrew Dawes took 2nd outright however, in winning the Male 50-59 in 39:53, ahead of Steve Whan 3rd outright with his 42:05. Alex Gosman added to his historical trophy haul, taking home the Male 60-69 with 48:29 in a close-run race from Tim Booth’s 48:54; while the seemingly-immortal Geoff Llewellyn continued showing us all what a true champion is, the oldest participant in winning the Male 70 and Over in 1:26:44.
Winner of the women’s race was Anne Smyth, from the Female 50-59 category in a fine 44:37, with 2nd place Ann Reid also from the F50-59 in 48:38. Fastest among the Undefr50 women came Jolin Edmondson in a solid 48:43, ahead of Carolyn McLaren with 52:47 and Julie-Ann Guivarra in 55:49. Claire Wall took out the Female 60-69 with 1:14:08.
Gianni Bonansea was too swift for all comers in the 500 metre race, winning outright from the Boys Under 17 category in 9:47. Fiona Butler took out the Female 17 and Over in 10:16; and Sean Mullins the Male 17 and Over with 12:04.