Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim Race Report
9 November, 2008: The spirit of self-transcendence- integral to Sri Chinmoy's philosophy- was notable at this year's Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim. It was a record field for solo competitors, with 31 brave souls completing the 9.4 km distance, most of them choosing to endure the cool morning waters without the aid of wetsuits.
From where did these heroes come? In some cases, it was from teams of previous years. This year had the smallest number of relay teams, as many former team members sought the challenge of going the entire distance alone.
On another perfect Canberra day, back at our regular venue of Lake Burley Griffin, the swimmers not only swam further, but also faster than in previous years, as all finishers defied the length of the lake (from the south-western landmark of Scrivener Dam to the north-eastern point of Grevillea Park) in easily under four hours, with most of them under three.
The aptly-named Southside Slayers was the fastest team, with anchor Georgia Hardy running through the finish banner at 1:58:30, three minutes ahead of the valiant second-placers, the Tridents.
The first solo swimmer out of the water was triathlon champion Aaron Farlow, who- despite never swimming this distance before- finished in 2:05:10. An amazing effort, but as Aaron was wearing a wetsuit, first place went to Michael Skrodzki, who materialised from the water in 2:09:58, more than 10 minutes ahead of Gabriel Mecs, who came second in 2:20:12.
The first solo female (and seventh overall) was Shanyn Sparreboom in 2:14:41. Shanyn won convincingly from her nearest rival, Helen Conway (2:37:09). Incidentally, Shanyn and Helen were the only solo women to swim faster than Jo-Anne Danne, the first (and only) over-50 woman, who finished in 2:38:16. All three of them swam faster than any of the wetsuit-clad women.
Trophies went to all solo swimmers who completed the course- and a few even gave acceptance speeches."It was the first time I did it, so it was hard," admitted Aaron Farlow. Not hard enough to defeat him, of course. He finished with the words:"We'll see you again next year, hey?"
OK. Let's make it an appointment. Same race, same distance and (all going well) same place!