The 10th annual Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim – the 9km length of Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin – was staged on Sunday 1 December 2013 under a benign sky with nary a puff of breeze. As the saying goes, the Gods must have been smiling on us today.
Geoff Llewellyn – one of the proudest supporters of this event from its inception – today celebrated his 80th birthday in style, becoming the oldest person to swim the length of the lake, and setting a new course record in the process for M80+ of 3:06:04. It seems inappropriate that Geoff should be setting records for being the "oldest" for something, when his whole demeanour is so young and vibrant…
The race for line honours was a neck-and-neck tussle throughout between Jessica Traficante and Warren Keegan, the lead see-sawing between the two until Warren finally drew away in the last leg to stride up the beach just 1 minute and 20 seconds clear. Yet for all the drama, the two were racing in separate categories – Warren in the Male with a Wetsuit category and Jessica in the Female sans Wetsuit division.
Even though Warren finished ahead in the end, his presence possibly spurred Jessica on, ensuring she did not slacken her effort, and what an inspiring effort it was! Jessica claimed a phenomenal new course record of 1:55:27 for this challenging swim. Along the way, Jessica also lowered her own leg records for the 1st and 3rd legs, with new times of 19:27 and 38:19 respectively. A mighty performance from a fine athlete – congratulations, Jessica!
Warren's time of 1:54:07 is also a new all-comers course record and a new mark for Males Under 50 with Wetsuit. He looked smooth and controlled the whole way, and like Jessica, he too collected new records for the 1st and 3rd legs en route with 19:43 and 38:00 – a wonderful swim and a large-hearted competitor.
Next swimmer to the beach was defending champion, Oliver Bourne, a clear winner in the Male Under 50 sans Wetsuit category. While Oliver's time of 2:06:52 wasn't his fastest for the course and he struggled to stay warm over such a distance, nevertheless his swim was all class, befitting a national standard athlete.
Another course record tumbled in the Male 50-59 solo swim, where Mark Wieland bested his own time with a marvellous swim of 2:22:18; while likewise Ann Sullivan set a new best time for Women 60-69 with her 4:08:36.
In other solo categories, Graeme Wolfenden swam a fine 2:55:12 to take out the Men 60-69 category; Pauline English won the Women 60-69 with Wetsuit division in 3:22:59; and Clare Humberstone outlasted them all with her epic win in the Female Under 50 with Wetsuit category, with 4:41:52.
Fastest Mixed Team was the pairing of Jennifer Davis and Luke Kay – "Sink or swim" – who came home in 2:18:19. Best All-Female team was another pair of Anne Smyth and Nicolee Martin – "Viking Duo" – finishing in 2:39:14. The fastest All-Male Team on the day was "4 Mates" – Matt Hardy, Steve Baker, Mick Hanbury and Greg Mitchell – who clocked 2:29:53 for the 9km course.
Full results – both overall and by category – are published, along with a photo album from the morning. Congratulations to all who participated and a big Thank You! to the helpers from Canberra Canoe Club, the YMCA Sailing Club and Sports Medicine Australia for their support on the water throughout.