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Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim Race Report 2007
The scene was as perfect for a Sunday morning swim as could be imagined: a whisper of breeze inquiring demurely whether the trees were yet awake, while soft sunlight caressed a still-reclining lake.
Lake Ginninderra, always the bridesmaid to the more prestigious Lake Burley Griffin among Canberra's water bodies, stepped forward for her moment in the limelight with a sweet smile and polite curtsy. She was clearly ready, and soon proved herself a gracious and generous hostess.
It had come to this following the sudden closure of Lake Burley Griffin on Friday, just 2 days prior to a race which was supposed to showcase the lake at the heart of Canberra - its natural grandeur and panoply of national monuments. An accidental sewage spill across the border in Queanbeyan forced a precipitous change of plans. ACT Government authorities were most helpful and cooperative in approving a new course late on Friday afternoon, enabling the race to proceed in a new guise.
A 9 km point-to-point swim became 4 circuits of a 2 km loop in the smaller lake, enabling the solo swimmers to cover close to what they had trained for, and the 4-person relay format to proceed.
The organisers wish to express their gratitude not only to the officials from the ACT City Rangers Office and Environment ACT, Triathlon ACT, Sports Medicine Australia and the Canberra Canoe Club who all changed their plans at the last minute, but most especially to the swimmers - some of who traveled from as far afield as Perth - who accepted the enforced change cheerfully and spontaneously.
In spite of or perhaps even because of the enforced circumstances, a happy coming together of place, occasion and participants transpired to produce a morning at once magic and memorable.
English Channel conquerer Penny Palfrey (left) danced to her own tune from the outset, her smooth, graceful strokes carrying her further and further clear of the field. Her 1st lap 27:37 was bettered only by 2 members of the winning Male Relay Team "Dickson Old Timers," Anthony Millgate (27:12) and John Fleming (26:49). Penny proceeded to offer a masterclass in controlled, powerful open water swimming, recording an outright course record time of 1:55:20.
Mel Clark and Alan Vogt of "Dickson Shark Bait," who each swam 2 legs, finished one second adrift of Penny's time to take first prize in the Mixed Team division.
Meanwhile Sean Green (right) and Gabriel Mecs swam stroke for stroke through the first half of the course, Sean pulling imperceptibly away over the closing laps to take the Under 50 Men's division by 49 seconds. Peter Johnson was the first wetsuit-wearer home in 2:06:42, just ahead of the 1st Solo Male 50-59, Christopher Palfrey in 2:09:42.
Jo-Anne Danne showed her class in being 2nd woman overall in 2:17:38, first in her division 50-59, and even beating the winning Female Team "Un-Subs" (Rebecca Lannin and Tara Booth) by one second! The 1st Solo Female with a wetsuit was Anna Cox, coming ashore shortly after in 2:20:25.
Rico Fitch continued his 100% record in the race he inspired, winning his wetsuited male 50-59 division comfortably in 2:39:47. Special mention also to two fantastic swims in the Solo Male 60-69 category, Rodney Molesworth (2:45:12) and Michael Christie (3:01:37).