Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim Report '05
Those who had been at the inaugural Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim in November 2004 could be forgiven for failing to recognise today's race as the same event. Brooding clouds, raging winds, crashing waves and a surging swell were traded for a frombulent sky, benign whisper of a breeze and the silent-still glistening surface of an altogether snugglesome lake.
Many of last year's heroes returned, heralded by a most auspicious dawn. Little escaping gasps, sweeps of the hand and delighted gleaming eyes greeted a picture-postcard scene at Scrivener Point. Absent from the formal registration procedures was the usual pre-race din of excited, nervous chatter as swimmers and supporters alike contented themselves with gazing longingly over the languid liquid ahead.
Solo swimmers eased their way from the Scrivener Dam boom into the bosom of an embracing lake and a journey to the far end of a city. From the still dawn bushland of Yarramundi Reach, Weston Park and Black Mountain Peninsula, their measured strokes would bring them along the rowing course with early morning training in full swing, out into the open waters of West Basin where the sailing boats sport, past swimming beaches, under the span of two mighty bridges, alongside imposing monuments and national symbols- the National Museum, National Library, National Gallery, High Court and Carillon- and across the tranquil East Basin under the gaze of Parliament House to finish on the quiet beach at Grevillea Park.
The race was dominated from the outset by two women, who combined power and grace in offering the rest of the field their wake, including all the relay teams. Alanna Hale, wearing a wetsuit was first to the finish banner in 2:12:39, with the wetsuitless Shanyn Sparreboom (top left) appearing less than 4 minutes later. Chad Schneider flew in from New York to take out the un-wetsuited men's division, while Jason Diederich (with wetsuit, bottom left) also beat a path for all the teams to follow.
Hot soup and pesto pasta seemed to round out the morning quite nicely for most of the swimmers and their paddling helpers, the smiling gathering at Grevillea Park beach resembling more a picnic lunch than an athletic competition.
Check out the full race results, and view the event photo gallery.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team's next swimming event will be the Sri Chinmoy Lake Swims (with 500 m, 2.5 km and 5 km options) at Yarralumla Bay on Sunday 19 February 2006.