Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim
Swim the full 10km length of Lake Burley Griffin – solo or in a 4-leg relay
About the event
The 20th anniversary edition of the Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim will be held on Sunday 1 December 2024.
The race will start at 6.30am for solo swimmers, and 6.45am for relay teams.
From end to end, Lake Burley Griffin presents pristine natural beauty, a playground for recreational enjoyment and competitive sports, and a grand arena for the display of national monuments, symbols and icons. Government House, Parliament House (old and new), the National Museum, National Library, National Gallery and High Court grace its shores with natural reserves, manicured parklands, beaches and civic promenades.
Tackle the entire length of the lake as a major athletic goal; or join with friends to complete the journey in relay.
2023 Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim
Enjoy the 2023 Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim from the air, land and water.
View course map »
- 0630 solos + >50 teams
- 0645 relay teams <50
- Till 5pm, 1 November: solo $75; relay team $95
- After 5pm, 1 November: solo $95; relay team $120
- Add $10 one race licence fee for non-TA members
- ALL entries close 5pm, Friday 29 November
- Trophies for solo 'no wetsuit' categories; medallions for all solo finishers
- 1st to 7th Male and Female Under 50
- 1st to 3rd Male and Female 50-59
- 1st and 2nd Male and Female 60-69
- 1st Male and Female 70 and Over
- Medallions for 1st All-Male; All-Female and Mixed Relay Teams
- For solo swimmers
- For relay teams
- Participant waivers
- Water temp & wetsuits
- Registration & start
- Course marking
- Safety & emergency
- Cut-off times
- Finish, awards & results
- Withdrawals & refunds
- Contingency plans
- Course records
Solo swimmers must follow the same course as the relay teams, and have their number recorded at each transition point. Swimmers may take rest at any transition point, remembering that the clock does not stop.
Each solo swimmer must provide his or her own helper, who will accompany the swimmer in their own craft - either kayak, canoe or water ski. Each helper may only be responsible for one swimmer. Helpers will be issued with a chest number to be worn throughout the race. Swimmers may take food and drink from their helper, but are not permitted to touch their helper or any craft while in the water. Except while serving food or drink, the helper must stay 3 metres clear of their swimmer, and must give way to overtaking swimmers and craft at all times. It is the helper's responsibility to ensure the timers record their swimmer's number at each transition. Helpers must not interfere with or obstruct the progress of any other swimmer. To do so will incur the disqualification of the helper's swimmer, even if he or she plays no part in such interference.
Wetsuits and Non-Wetsuit Competitors
Main awards will be for solo swimmers not wearing wetsuits, though all solo swimmers completing the course will receive a finisher's award, whether wearing a wetsuit or not. Please notify with entry if you intend swimming with, or without a wetsuit.
Criteria for Entry
All solo swimmers must include with entry a detailed athletic history, including results of previous competitive and endurance swims.
Relay Team Legs
There are 4 legs, as follows:
Leg 1 Scrivener Dam boom to Weston Park west beach, 1.9 km
Leg 2 Weston Park west beach to Yarralumla swimming beach, 2.8 km
Leg 3 Yarralumla swimming beach to Gallipoli Reach, 3.3 km
Leg 4 Gallipoli Reach to Grevillea Park beach, 2 km
Relay Team Categories
Categories for teams are:
Minimum age for Relay Team members is 14 years. All Relay Team members under 18 years of age will be accepted to compete only if entry form is accompanied by a letter of permission from a parent or guardian. If entering online, the permission letter(s) must be mailed or emailed to the organisers.
Composition of Relay Teams
Relay Teams may include 2, 3 or 4 members. Each team member must swim one or more complete legs. Each leg must be swum by one team member only, and cannot be sub-divided between team members. One individual may swim separate legs for different teams, as long as these legs are not consecutive.
Replacement of team members is allowed, provided the replacement does not alter the category of the team. Replacement members must sign the official waiver form at Registration. Also at Registration, names are to be confirmed for each member doing each leg. Changes to this schedule are permitted on the day, provided transition marshals are informed of the change in advance of the leg concerned.
Accompaniment of Team Members
Relay Teams may accompany their swimmers in any craft, by prior agreement with the organisers.
All competitors who have entered or have been entered into this event online, whether as solo swimmers or relay team members, as well as all replacement team members, must sign the participant waiver before commencing their respective leg or legs of the race. Copies of the waiver will be available at each transition point.
Any competitor who commences a leg without first signing the participant waiver is subject to immediate and automatic disqualification, and is no longer deemed a participant in the event.
Average temperature in Lake Burley Griffin at this time of year is 17C - 21C, though water temperature can vary markedly from one part of the lake to another.
Wetsuits of no more than 5 mm thickness are allowed for both solo swimmers and relay team members. There will be a separate category for solo swimmers not wearing wetsuits, though no disctinction will be made in the relay teams divisions between wetsuit or non-wetsuit wearers.
Swim caps will be issued at Registration, and must be worn throughout the race.
Start (start of leg 1): Scrivener Dam boom, off Scrivener Point
First Transition (start of leg 2): Weston Park west beach
Second Transition (start of leg 3): Yarralumla swimming beach
Third Transition (start of leg 4): Gallipoli Reach (near Rond Terrace)
Finish: Grevillea Park beach
Transition Procedure - Solo Swimmers
Solo swimmers must come to within 5 metres of shore at each transition point, close enough to stand up and have their race number recorded. If instructed to do so, solo swimmers must come ashore and have their condition monitored by medical staff. Swimmers must comply with the instructions of medical staff, including any directive to take rest, receive treatment or withdraw from the race. Failure to do so will result in immediate disqualification.
Transition Procedure - Teams
Team members must report to the timing crew to have their name and number recorded, sign the participant waiver, have their number written on and swim cap issued, no less than 15 minutes prior to expected departure. Swimmers may NOT write their own number on themselves! The swimmer exiting the water must come through the chute and have his or her number and time recorded and be cleared by the timing crew, before 'tagging' the next team swimmer in the transition compound, who is then free to depart.
There will be aid station supplies at each transition point. These will include water, sports drink, First Aid kit, vaseline, sunscreen (all available to swimmers only). Hot soup will be served for all swimmers and official helpers at the finish.
Driving Directions to Transition Points
Start, Scrivener Point. Scrivener Point is off Lady Denman Dr, just to the north of Scrivener Dam. Access to Lady Denman Dr is from Parkes Way or Tuggeranong Parkway coming from the north, or from Cotter Rd coming from the south. Please note that Scrivener Point is a drop-off only area. There is NO PARKING at Scrivener Point or along Lady Denman Dr. Parking is in the car park off Lady Denman Dr just to the south of Scrivener Dam. Please allow 7 - 10 minutes to walk to the start.
Transition 1 - Weston Park west beach. From Scrivener Dam, follow Lady Denman Dr south. Turn left on Cotter Rd, then left again into Dudley St (the first set of traffic lights). Turn left at the roundabout into Novar St, then left again at the next roundabout into Bentham St, at the Yarralumla shops. Turn right into Banks St. Follow Banks St all the way until it becomes Weston Park Rd and enters Weston Park. Turn left into Prescott Lane and park in the car park near the end of Prescott Lane.
Transition 2 – Yarralumla swimming beach. From Transition 1, follow Prescott Lane back to Weston Park Rd. Turn right on Weston Park Rd (which becomes Banks St), then left into Brown St, which becomes Alexandrina Dr. Continue on Alexandrina Dr past the intersection of Hopetoun Circuit, then look for the dirt car park on your left, which leads down to Yaralumla swiming beach. The transition is in front of the "Dreamer of Peace" statue of Sri Chinmoy.
Transition 3 - the transition at Gallipoli Reach is a small beach just to the WEST of Rond Terrace (note that some maps place it to the east of Rond Terrace!) Park at Rond Terrace (pay parking!) From Transition 2, follow Alexandrina Dr eastward. Go straight through the roundabout of Flynn Dr, continuing past the Chinese Embassy to turn left onto Commonwealth Ave, passing over Commonwealth Ave bridge. Cross over Parkes Way and take the exit for "City West" and "Airport", looping down onto Parkes Way, now heading west. Continue west along Parkes Way until you come to Rond Terrace, on your right. Park in the car park on the right, off Parkes Way, ensuring you purchase a parking ticket, as fines are regularly issued here on Sundays.
Finish - Grevillea Park. From Transition 3, head out onto Parkes Way heading west. Continue on Parkes Way until it becomes Morshead Dr. Turn right at the next roundabout into Menindee Dr, and park in the car park in Grevillea Park.
Registration and Start Procedures
If necessary, changes to team membership or swimming order can be made at Registration prior to the race start. It is preferable however, to please advise us of any changes before the close of entries.
Compulsory Registration for all Solo Swimmers, their helpers and Leg 1 Relay Team members will take place from 5.45am at Scrivener Point (off Lady Denman Dr just to the north of Scrivener Dam).
Registration closes at 6.15am for Solo Swimmers and their helpers, and at 6.20am am for Teams.
Relay team members for legs 2, 3 and 4 will register at their respective transition point, at least 15 minutes prior to their anticipated departure.
Please note there is very limited at Scrivener Point, or along Lady Denman Drive. Park in the car park on the southern side of Scrivener Dam and walk to Scrivener Point, about 700 metres - allow 7 to 10 minutes for the walk.
All Solo Swimmers and their helpers must attend Registration. Only the first Relay Team swimmer need attend, along with any replacement team members.
Race numbers will be written on the backs of swimmers' hands. Helpers' race numbers and packs will be issued, along with last-minute event information.
A pre-race briefing will be given 5 minutes prior to each wave start at Scrivener Point (off Lady Denman Dr to the north of Scrivener Dam).
There is limited parking at the start. Additional parking is available in the car park on the southern side of Scrivener Dam, 700 metres from the start. Please do not park at the National Aquarium.
Start Times and Procedure
The race will start in waves in deep water from the boom off Scrivener Point. Swimmers may position themselves anywhere along the boom, and must be holding the boom with one hand at the start.
Solo Swimmers AND RELAY TEAMS ALL OVER 50 will start at 6.30am.
Relay Teams (under 50) commence at 6.45am.
The course will be marked by swim buoys.
All swimmers must follow the course as set on the day. All swimmers must swim to within 2 metres of every designated swim buoy on the course. It is the swimmer's choice whether to pass to the left or right of each swim buoy.
Solo swimmers must come to within 3 metres of the shore at each transition point to have their number recorded.
Safety and Emergency Procedures
The race will be patrolled by 3 boats and a flotilla of canoes and kayaks for directional assistance and safety alert.
Sports Medicine Australia personnel will be in attendance at each transition point and at the finish.
Swimmers finding themselves in any difficulty should immediately signal the nearest craft for assistance. Provided they are not propelled in a forward direction, swimmers may rest on a safety craft indefinitely. Swimmers must obey all directions from race officials at all times. Race officials have the right to withdraw any swimmer from the event at any time.
Cut-Off Times and Procedures
The following cut-off times appear in 24-hour clock time according to Eastern Daylight Savings Time, asssuming that the solo swimmers commence at 0630:
Leg 1 - 0735
Leg 2 - 0845
Leg 3 - 1000
Finish - 1050
In the event that a solo swimmer has not reached a transition point by the cut-off time, he or she will automatically be withdrawn from the race.
In the event that a relay team member does not reach a transition by the cut-off time, his or her team may continue, commencing the next leg at the cut-off time, and will be ineligible for any awards.
The race finish is on the beach at Grevillea Park.
The Awards Ceremony will be held in Grevillea Park at or about 10.15am.
Special awards will be presented to all Solo Swimmers. Awards will be presented to the first placed team in each of the all-male, all-female and mixed teams divisions.
Full race results, including split times for each leg for both solo swimmers and relay teams, will be posted on this website as soon as practicable after the event, along with a race report and photo gallery.
Refunds (minus $10 administration fee) will be made if signed advice of withdrawal is received in writing no later than 5pm on the last Monday prior to race day.
Inland water bodies are occasionally affected by various natural phenomena such as blue-green algae or bacteria. All areas of Lake Burley Griffin are tested regularly and rigorously, and are subject to closure by the National Capital Authority if the levels of any potentially harmful organisms rise above certain standard measures.
In the event that swimming is prohibited in some part of the lake on the day of the race, an alternate course will be advised. In the event that swimming is prohibited in most or all of Lake Burley Griffin, the race will take place in another of Canberra's lakes, either Lake Ginninderra or Lake Tuggeranong. In this instance, the distance of the course and the distance of each relay leg may vary from that advertised. Advice of such changes will be posted on the event website at the earliest opportunity.
If the location of the event is changed or the route altered significantly, winning times achieved on the revised course cannot be recognised as course records.
In the event that swimming is prohibited in all of Canberra's lakes on the advertised race date, the race will be postponed to a later date. If the race is postponed due to lake closure, entrants may elect to transfer their entry to the revised date or place their entry on hold. Entries 'on hold' will be valid until used once for the same event within 3 years successive to the originally advertised date of the race.
Solo Swimmers sans Wetsuit
Male Under 50 - 1:53:44, Benjamin Freeman, 2014
Male 50 - 59 - 2:09:06, John Fox, 2014
Male 60 - 69 - 2:32:57, Jeff Banks, 2008
Male 70 and Over - 3:02:34, Graeme Wolfenden, 2023
Female Under 50 – 1:55:27, Jessica Traficante, 2013
Female 50 - 59 - 2:38:16, Jo-Anne Danne, 2008
Female 60 - 69 - 2:56:46, Jannion Di Tommaso, 2017
Solo Swimmers with Wetsuit
Male Under 50 - 1:50:04, Oliver Bourne, 2014
Male 50 - 59 - 2:28:05, Stephen Meredith, 2004
Male 60 - 69 - 2:33:07, Greg Gourley, 2018
Male 70+ - 2:50:26, Geoff Llewellyn, 2009
Male 80+ - 3:06:04, Geoff Llewellyn, 2013
Female Under 50 - 2:12:39, Alanna Hale, 2005
Female 50 - 59 - 2:29:08, Julie Bowman, 2023
Female 60 - 69 - 2:37:11, Jannion De Tomasso, 2015
|Dickson Old Timers
|All-Male Team Over 50
|Rod and Reel (Andrew Dawes, Rodney Smith)
|All-Male Team Over 60
|The Old Guys (Alex Gosman, Terry Dixon)
|Terry Told Us
|All-Female Team Over 50
|Vikings Vintage 61 Jeanette Droop, Leisa Cass)
|All-Female Team Over 60
|S.A.S.S.Y (Karina Horton, Helen Rubin)
Fastest Splits for Relay Swimmers
2023 Dec 3rdSri Chinmoy National Capital Swim, Canberra, Sunday 3 December 2023
Thumbing through race reports from years of yore, the main challenge to the reporters seems to have been finding words to describe the horrible conditions, both in the water and on land for the helpers. Driving rain, shivering cold, howling wind, towering waves – all are vividly portrayed … Well, the words are quite simple to describe today’s scene – still, calm, mild, serene … in one word – perfect.
A sure sign of the ideal weather, along with the cheery mood, the air of general satisfaction and perhaps also the hot soup, juicy watermelon and baked goodies at the food marquee, was the size of the crowd who stayed around till well after the final swimmer touched dry land.
With a deluge of fresh rain inundating the lake in the past week, the water was perhaps at its clearest in years. A gentle mist shrouded the surface until the start command, at which point the mist winged away, the flotilla of support kayaks eased forward, keeping their swimmer-charges in sight as a mother cow shepherds her calf.
While Julie Bowman wore a wetsuit and hence didn’t qualify for an “official” award, hers was nevertheless an outstanding achievement, from the Female 50-59 category, to cross the line first in an all-comers 10km race. Julie also set a new record for her category – 2:29:08.
Outright winner of the official “no wetsuit” race was another from the 50-59 category – Michael Pranckl has always been among the trophies and medals in this event, but never before taken home the main prize, his 2:34:24 best on the day and just reward for years of dedicated training.
Everyone who completes 10km in the water is a winner and hero, and it’s notable that every single starter in today’s race, also finished – zero swimmers withdrew after the start. Following are a few performers who demand special mention:
Graeme Wolfenden was pulled from the water at T3 last time around with hypothermia, and dedicated himself to returning and making good that extra distance. Not only did Graeme return and finish the job, he smashed the Male 70 and Over race record with his 3:02:34.
Josephine Casey won the women’s race with a fine 2:37:14; ahead of Male Under 50 winner Mark Hassall in 2:40:47. Gilly Lynch came from Sydney to win the F50-59 in a fine 3:01:47; while one of the best contested categories was the Male 60-69, won eventually by Gary Ullmann in an impressive 2:52:36.
Among those wearing wetsuits, Janet Gorst deserves special credit for her 3:18:01, winning her F60-69 category. Raquel Holgado was 1st FU50 with 3:29:48; Chris Allison 1st in the MU50 with 2:46:11; and Steven Boyt 1st in the M50-59s in 2:51:18.
The leading All-Male team (and fastest completed 10km time) was “The Wet Apostles” (Daniel and Oliver Robinson, Cameron Dodd and Nicholas Lamond) in 2:24:24. Best All-Female team was “Catch and Release” (Megan O’Neill Johnston, Samantha Morley, Rebecca Lannin and Monica Lindemann) with 3:14:05; while “JTM Relay Team” (Gwenala La Lu and Andrew Walton) took home the main prize in the Mixed Team division with their 2:41:12.
2022 Nov 27thSri Chinmoy National Capital Swim, Sunday 27 November 2022
With the very rare conjunction of all of Canberra’s lakes fully closed to swimming for over 2 weeks this month, it seemed almost certain this year’s Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim would need to be truncated, distorted, amended or cancelled. And if it would happen at all, given the recent preponderance of wet, rainy, stormy, thunderous, blustery and very cold days, it would likely be a miserable ordeal for all involved…
… That the race occurred on schedule, actually covered the length of Lake Burley Griffin after all, in calm, mild waters under clear skies – was perhaps good luck, a marvellous meteorological anomaly, a comic cosmic conspiracy, or perhaps the concerted will and optimism of an entire field of aspiring, committed swimmers.
With the lake temperature hovering around 19 degrees, more swimmers than usual opted to wear their wetsuits – for those unused to sustained immersion in cool waters, definitely a wise move.
Of the Wieland brothers, Ned (the elder) opted to swim sans wetsuit, while younger brother Duke donned the suit. The difference was remarkable, with Duke powering away from the start and increasing his lead at each transition, reaching the beach at Grevillea Park a full 10 minutes ahead of Ned – 1:58:50 to 2:08:51. The wetsuited Matthew Hogan and Rhys Sweaney were closely matched, shadowing each other in 2:33:16 and 2:33:27 respectively, just ahead of the 1st Mixed Team, “Algal Zoom” (Melanie Wellenberg and William Aikman) in 2:33:46.
Next unsuited swimmer was the consistently excellent Michael Pranckl, in 2:42:59, ahead of Conor O’Brien with 2:47:27. Others to finish in the Males Under 50 were Tom Sullivan (3:42:13), Jack Nottle (3:44:21) and the dauntless Grant Campbell in 4:19:40. Peter Power was fastest among the Males 50-59 sans wetsuit, finishing in 3:01:08, with a close tussle to decide 2nd and 3rd between Jonathan Wall (3:08:23) and Andrew Reichel (3:08:34), with Male 60-69 winner Ross Youngman making it a 3-way sprint in the chute. Leading the back-markers of the field, Neil Papenfus put the lake behind him in 4:24:56. Used to the Meers and Waters of the Lake District, 71-year-old Bill Hitchcock just arrived from the UK to sample lake swimming Down Under-style in our own LBG, which he grasped and conquered in the formidable time of 4:29:28.
Emily Kempson was a clear winner of the women’s non-wetsuit race, taking line honours in 3:00:28, ahead of crowd favourite Emily Dwyer’s 3:16:38, while Liz Crowhurst took out the Female 50-59 non-wetsuit division with her 3:51:25.
Nicolee Martin was first wetsuited woman home (from the F50-59 category) in 2:49:37; Katie Binstock, the only Under 50 female to swim with a wetsuit, spanned the lake in 3:10:35; while the impressive Suzie Gunning claimed the F60-69 wetsuited prize in 3:19:40.
In the M50-59 wetsuited division, Chris Southby (2:52:09) and Aston Duncan (2:59:16) both broke the sought-after 3 hour barrier – the furthest Aston has ever swum, a mighty feat having completed the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon just a fortnight ago. Michael Rodda tallied 3:15:29; while Andrew Leigh (3:48:45) completed a laudable double, finishing his first Sri Chinmoy 100km Trail Run and 10km swim in just a few months (with a 2:54 Chicago Marathon for Rob de Castella’s Indigenous Marathon Foundation, sandwiched in between). In the M60-69s, Chris Carson (3:26:46) proved best on the day, from Bob Welldon’s 3:39:22.
In the MU50 wetsuit category, Samuel Cox crossed the line in 2:44:18, from Brendan Cook with 2:58:14 and Joe Walshe (another Triple-Tri finisher from 2 weeks ago), 3:14:05.
Fastest All-Female team on the day was “Sharks are Friends” (Samantha Morley and Rebecca Lannin), with 3:12:15; while the title of best All-Male ensemble was claimed by “Bilby Lookers” (Scott McClymont, Peter Thorley, Alex Gosman and Lachlan McCalman) in 2:53:10.
Our gratitude to all volunteers and helpers – to the YMCA Sailing Club; to Florian Geier and the Lake Tuggeranong Sea Scouts; to Paul Robey and Rebecca Stamatis for medical support; to Emily Stacey; and members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team from Latvia, Mongolia and Canberra.
2021 Nov 28thSri Chinmoy National Capital Swim, Sunday 28 November 2021
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.
2020 Nov 29thSri Chinmoy National Capital Swim (10km), Lake Ginninderra, Sunday 29 November 2020
When the wind blows hard and long, you want to have it at your back. Ironically, if the race had been held from end-to-end of Lake Burley Griffin as intended, swimmers would have benefited from a tail gale and fast times would surely have ensued. However, with East Basin and a few transition beaches closed, the only option was to stage the race on a loop course: Lake Ginninderra offered a setting less busy, though quiet and pretty.
2020 marked the first time this race has extended to the full Olympic Marathon swim distance – 10km – so the 2.5km loop was to be completed 4 times, anti-clockwise. Sadly though, because not swum on the ‘official’ course in Lake Burley Griffin, best times from today cannot be recognised as course records.
The Over-50s relay teams dived in with all the Solo Swimmers at 6.30am – not only was the morning cooler, it seems the wind had not yet received its orders for the day. The remaining relay teams followed after 15 minutes. An advantage of the loop course is that spectators could wander along the shore and follow most of the action, without needing to drive and navigate from one transition to another.
By the second lap, kayakers were fastening their hat straps, swimmers were struggling to make forward progress into the wind, and officials were clinging forlornly to the inflatable finish arch – a mission ultimately deemed futile and abandoned.
Ned Wieland has performed splendidly at the Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim for several years. Today the 19-year-old veteran brought along his younger brother Duke (17) in tow, and the pair literally swam stroke for stroke through the full 10km, barely missing a beat through the fiercest bluster (their 2nd lap was only a minute slower than the 1st), with Ned powering home to finish in a fantastic 2:18:07, 3 seconds clear of his understudy Duke in 2:18:10. Another Sydney teenager, 14-year-old Lucas Dubois felt the effects of the wind more as the race wore on, yet showed plenty of class and guts to claim 3rd with an exceptional display of 2:37:34. Other sub-3-hour finishers – outstanding in the conditions – came from Michael Pranckl (2:48:56), Chad Schneider (2:56:49), Mark Newman (2:57:41) and the strong winner of the Male 50-59s, Murray Chapman in 2:59:13. Greg Gourley, who had designed a perfect 10km course in Lake Burley Griffin which will now have to wait another 12 months in cotton wool, took out the Male 60-69 with his sterling 3:54:52.
Belinda Bullivant glided through the water as though it were a still pond in winning the women’s race courtesy of a fine 3:02:01, from 2nd placed Courtney Bicknell (3:06:35), with Annabel Maggs (3:31:30) completing the podium placings. Right on Annabel’s toes however, came 1st placed Female 50-59, Nicolee Martin with 3:32:20, from Suzie Gunning’s 3:38:09.
Team-of-2 pairings did very well in the Relay races. The All-Female Teams division was taken out by the pairing of Janelle Ahern & Melanie Wellenberg (AKA “Zig and Zag”), in 3:02:19; while the ensemble of “Bilby Bathers” (Peter Thorley & Alex Gosman) came home strongest in the All-Male Teams Over 50, with a fine 2:57:13, taking 3rd placed team overall. The Open All-Male Teams race was dominated by “JT Multisport” (Yoann Colin, Joseph Pascall & James Thorp), winning in 2:31:20; while the Mixed Teams event saw “Team Keeping It Real” (Steve Robertson, Teresa Wynter, Pete Quinn & Alex Bowyer) just missing the 3 hour barrier, clocking in at 3:00:35.
On behalf of all participants, our immense gratitude to the sterling work under trying conditions from members of the Canberra Canoe Club under the stewardship of John Birch; and to our medical officer, Rebekah Stamatis, who fortunately had a quiet morning of it.
About the Organisers
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team
Serving the athletic community for over 40 years...
Team Founder Sri Chinmoy
A lifelong advocate of fitness and self-transcendence...