“Splendid” is a word that almost suffered from over-use on Sunday 4 December, in the mouths of those describing the weather and conditions for the 14th annual Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim. If swimmers had been asked to pre-book the conditions in advance, this is the day many would have dreamed of.
Among the Solo Simmers (No Wetsuit), the girls were right up there with the lead boys; Emma Gillingham and Isabella Coghlan both swimming superb races to place 2nd and 3rd outright. Swimming smoothly, powerfully and with great determination, Emma won the Women’s race in 2:05:10, from Isabella’s 2:07:40 and Jenna Freeman in 2:21:21.
Ben Freeman, the defending course record holder, swam a superbly controlled race over the full 9km to win outright in 1:58:45, the only competitor today (including all teams) to break the gold standard 20hour barrier. Behind him were two lion-hearted youths in Eskindir (“Skinny”) Gavel (2:08:54) and Ned Wieland (2:10:29).
Lloyd Dobson triumphed in the Male 50-59 with 2:49:50; and Greg Gourley, a stalwart of this race, celebrated his 60th birthday by taking out the Male 60-69 premiere trophy in 2:59:36.
Nicole Martin won the Female 50-59 in a fine 2:50:13; with Jannion Di Tommaso continuing her winning run at this race, winning the Female 60-69 in 3:15:38.
Sarah Murphy took out the Women’s (wetsuit) race in 2:44:00; while Sue Lyon took out the Female 50-59 with 3:10:30. Peter Turner won the Male 50-59 (wetsuit) with 3:03:09; and Bob Weldon the Male 60-69 (wetsuit) in 3:17:02. Geoff Llewellyn continues to amaze and inspire us all, taking out the Male 80 and Over division just days after his 83rd birthday, in 3:33:35.
A feature of the teams categories this year was the number of pairs not only participating, but doing extremely well. In the All-Female Teams, the pairing of “Claire and Katie” (Claire Fishpool and Katie Binstock) headed all of the more numerously-membered teams, winning in 2:44:06.
Three more pairs even set new course records, all in the “Veterans Teams” categories: “Rod and Reel” (Goulburn’s Andrew Dawes and Rodney Smith) broke the previous record in the All-Male Team (All Over 50) with their 2:31:48; while the illustrious pairing of Alex Gosman and Terry Dixon (“The Old Guys”) laid down a new best time for the All-Male Team (All Over 60) of 2:48:33. Yet another pair of Deborah Johns and Helen Rubin (”S.A.S.S.Y.”) set a new best-time for the All-Female Team (All Over 60) of 4:22:32.
“3 Mates and a Carp” (Greg Mitchell, Matty Hardy, Tyrone Compton and Mick Hanbury) proved too good in the All-Male Teams (Open), winning in 2:30:34; while late entry “The Swimpsons” (Oscar Johnston, Kylie Message and Guy Jones) took out the Mixed Teams division in 2:23:00.
The organisers wish to thank the members of the Canberra Canoe Club, YMCA Sailing Club and Sports Medicine Australia for their invaluable and much appreciated service. Congratulations to all swimmers who took to the water on this memorable and most enjoyable occasion.