Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cole Classic -- what did you think?

Tell us what you thought about the Cole Classic under new management ...

We've heard lots of comments, some of which we'll include in our report. But tell us what you thought... click the Comments link below to leave your thoughts ...


  1. I boycotted the boycott and swam in the Cole and was pleased I did. The organisation wasn't a patch on the Big Swim last weekend, but wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting. Expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised. I didn't forget my cap and chip. The chip didn't fall off. The swim itself was enjoyable enough. Crowded, but no more than at a swim like Bilgola. I'm glad I'm not a girl though having to wait around in the hot sun for an hour before starting.

    What a relief it was that it was moved to Shelly Beach. As a seasoned ocean swimmer I'm sure I could have made my way through the break at Manly Beach albeit slowly, but I'm not sure I could have stood much more of Roy & HG's inane chatter so I was pleased to find Shelly Beach free of running commentary. Please muster here and wait to be taken round to Shelly Beach. Yeah right - did that last year and my wave went before those of us who follow instructions had arrived at the start.

    I found myself being "interviewed" by a roving SMH reporter. I don't think I'll make it into the final article though as I didn't fit the criteria. "Was it my first ocean swim?" No. More like thirtieth. "Was I afraid of sharks?" Nope. "OK, thanks" and she turned to find someone else to talk to!

    It's always good when a swim makes an effort to brief people, and I like the Cole's way of briefing each wave on the course at the start even though the megaphone man on the start line could have used a charm school refresher course. What a shame they changed the course during the race so it bore little resemblance to the briefing. Go past the final white buoy and come in to the beach. Now I knew it was white and therefore likely to be hard to see, but I wasn't expecting it to have vanished entirely. And I gather that the second white buoy disappeared half way through as well. I'm not a competitive sort really, but when comparing times to my mates in other waves it's good to know that we swam the same course at least!

    All in all the experience was on a par with last year, but wasn't worth the price. I've had better $30 swims - but I knew that before I entered so it's my own fault. Next year I'll take a weekend off I think.

  2. In my opinion, it certainly felt like they had reduced the distance of the 2k to perhaps 1.2-1.4km. If true, this would make it the second year in a row that this has happened. Given the push by SMH to create a city to surf type fixture, this is really ridiculous. I have worked on steadily working my way up to the 2k after having enjoyed smaller $35 swims. So it was really dissapointing to train and be excited to break this barrier, but instead swim some vague lesser course. They should be forward about the exact distance and offer a refund for those who care. Imagine if the city to surf changed to an indeterminate length every year, no one would do it.

  3. Congratulations to all first timers.

    It was tough out the back, choppy water and a rolling swell. Well Done. particulary to all the Cantoo swimmers or anyone that raised money.

    We all remember our first swim.

    I am sure you be getting numerous blogs about the poor organisational skills of the event managers and rightly so. I feel sorry for the first timers to be part of such a poorly run event. All other swims are much better run particularly the smaller swims such as Bilgola and Long Reef. Please try another swim before the end of the season.

    I am not going to dwell on the high price, early entry requirements, moving of the course during the race, removing bouys, reduction in team categories, lack of communication etc. I sure others will mention all of this.

    I feel sorry for the Cole family to have their name associated with such an event.

    The icing on the cake for me was seeing a young girl crying at the presentation table, as the organisers would not give her the prize she won, as she did not have photo ID.

    I will not be back.

    Mr August

  4. Beautiful day & in readiness for great swim.Change in course because of a big' but gentle surf seemed unneccesary,its an 'ocean swim' after all & one would think the surf was part of the challenge.Stupidly followed race pre instructions only to be assembled with seemingly less than 50% of catergory then having to make a mad dash to get to the starting line with a minute to spare.During swim, buoys seemed to be moving ,was it my imagination I thought,no this was confirmed @ the finish by many.To top it off ,my timing device fell off just as I ran out of the water ,the finish was metres away so I continued across the line to be told to go back & retreive it ,from the sand.So much for pushing myself to the maximum ,gaining places on the way only to be beaten by the timing device.Last year the device also let me down ,there was simply no record of me finishing & I was only 13years old.Lucky I loved swimming out there in the ocean & just figure third time lucky as I'll still give it another go next year ,although I heard many say they wouldn't.

  5. Does anyone have a good idea of how far the distance for the 2k actually was ? I don't expect the organizers to reveal it anytime soon. The best we can hope for is brackets next to 2k saying not full distance like last year. This was an important swim for me cause i hoped to transition to 2.3K soon after, but now I don't even know if I can swim 2K open water

  6. Having done several ocean swims this season and last, I must say that the Cole Classic is without a doubt the worst swim I have done in terms of organisation. It was so organised that it was over-organised. As a female in the 2km 30-39 age category I was made to wait over an hour after the initial start before I even got wet. Never before have I been in an ocean swims race where people had completed their swim, got a drink, got dressed and readied themselves for home before I even got started! It was ridiculous.

    I wonder if the people at Fairfax who took over the reins of this event had ever actually been to any other ocean swims events? If they had they obviously didnt take notes!

    I am embarassed for the Cole family. As is often the case, a corporation has ruined the family spirit of a once fabulous event. I for one will NOT be attending the Cole Classic next year unless it receives a complete overhaul.

    Bring on Bondi...

  7. Where to start? Apart from the change of course, the constant shifting of buoys mid race, the marshaling debacle,the dodgy timing chip velcro (I saw two legless timing chips, too deep to retrieve),I've never been to a swim where place-getters have a do-it-yourself prize collection! The organisers completely disregarded a fundamental (emphasis on FUN) part of the oceanswimming ritual. A bit of an anticlimax to an otherwise pleasant swim.

  8. What did $45 give a swimmer?
    Chip in the post if you are organised,
    Course altered during swim ,buoys moved and lack of safety craft except at shelley beach the safest part of the course.
    Long waits at beach going at random interval times ie 3.36 secs between elite and 1stwave hence timing with a difference
    Elite presentation before last swimmer finishes race unheard of.
    Winners are grinners but not at the "Cole Classic "no one knows who did what as you had to show your photo ID at the plate table( which you were told to bring on the Cole Classic Website!! not ) must be the new Beach Privacy Act .
    And as For MR PACIFIC SWIM - Paul Mc Coy getting such a mention for donating the best Prize of the season to the winners NOTHING .
    Cole Clasic and the Sun Herald a Truly Poor Performance for a dollar value
    Shame on you

  9. When I did the Big Swim this year, the race announcers were generous in giving a plug for our event, the North Bondi Classic on 8 February. My experience was the same with announcers at other swims I did recently, such as the Coogee Wedding Cake Island Swim and the Bondi to Bronte Swim.

    Judging from the tiny mention we got at the Cole, I couldn't help but think maybe HG and Neal Rogers were told to 'bite their lips' or 'suck on lemon' rather than plug other swims on the oceanswims calendar. Maybe I am wrong but if this is the case and is indicative of how the Coles new management plans to operate, then I think this innovation in ocean swimming 'sucks'!

    I couldn't agree more with Richie Stewart, race director of The Big Swim's blog comments. I think oceanswims dot com has pioneered the development of a strong ocean swimming community and connectedness between each of the surf clubs that run an oceanswim event and ocean swimmers of all ages who love this wonderful sport.

    Mr Oceanswims, Paul Ellercamp has been a guiding light to us at North Bondi with his helpful advice in relation to our 2 swims, the North Bondi Roughwater and the North Bondi Classic.

    Maybe some of the 3800 punters swimming the Cole Classic today will have realised that when it comes to safety and comfort, big isn't always beautiful. A swim is too big when water safety is compromised ie each wave is crowded and you are more likely than not to get kicked and shoved. Maybe 'less is more'.

    Don't get me wrong. Like everyone else I would like to see our sport of oceanswimming grow. Hopefully everyone participating in the Cole felt as though they got their money's worth.

    However it was extremely unfortunate and hugely disappointing I thought that this greatly increased number of swimmers had their swim diverted to little Shelley Beach again for the second time in the last 2 years. It might be one for the Guiness Book of records namely 'The largest swim run from the smallest beach'.

    If the Cole Classic 'under new management' wants to 'go it alone' and not participate in our oceanswims community, then I think they they are going the wrong way in a number of respects and could learn best practice from our collective wisdom.

    We can all learn from each other and in my view oceanswims dot com is helping us do this.

    Peter Fox

  10. I wish I could tell you but as a regular who turns up on the day I found out reading the SMH yesterday I was out of the swim because i didn't register. A swim that you can't just turn up and swim at is not worth worrying about again. Will have to enjoy the Manly Wharf swim which was much better last year over the proper Manly/Shelly course and is not shortened. See you in a few weeks.A joke - swims for swimmers please!

  11. I'm kicking myself for following the organisers' instructions to wait at South Steyne before my wave was called. Walking briskly around to Shelly only to find 200 guys already on the start line, and missing the course instructions.

    Also, why not move the fruit table over to where every needs it (i.e. the finishing area), rather than leaving it back in Manly?

  12. I didn't do the Cole swim. Probably wouldn't have anyhow as it isn't my part of the world.

    But on Saturday I did do the across the lake swim at Lake Macquarie.

    Ran by the Swansea Belmont SLSC (, it is one of the longest running swims in the country apparently.

    It was great. Sure, it was a bit further 3.8k. Water was pretty flat. About 200 swimmers. Lovely setting.

    If it is on the same weekend next year, and you have misgivings about the cole, venture to Lake Macquarie and test yourself with a longer swim.

  13. One other problem. Have you noticed the Herald results are a hassle to read but the oceanswims Cole results are easy and quick. Newspaper executives think they must be better organisers!

  14. Yet again a long walk from where you can park your car added onto the crowded walk to/from Shelley. The Shelley Beach entry/exit made it pretty benign really. Only for about 50m whilst doing the 180 degrees back to the beach did you feel the swell and feel like you were in an ocean - a big difference to Palmie the week before. Looking at the times it's about the same speed as in the pool too, so the conditions were a bit ho hum. Can only hope that newbies are encouraged and go onto bigger and better swims elsewhere.

  15. For those of us who spend lots of hours looking and comparing times in races ( yes there are more than a few) we all know that regardless of the last minute confusion on the startline when most of us thought we had to swim all the way to Queenscliff, the fact is that times prove once again that the 1km was longer and the 2km was not at all 2km. Hmmm. Surely it cannot be that hard to get the distance right???!!! With that said, I loved the roller-coaster swell that mother nature provided.


  16. I hope the reason they moved the course was because there were so many "first timers".
    Getting through the surf is part of the swim, and catching a wave in at the finish gives no end of satisfaction.

    I guess SMH/Fairfax just have to acknowledge that this is AN Ocean Swimming Event, not THE Ocean swimming event. With the Wharf swim, and Cutler swim there will probably be two superior swims at Manly alone this year.

  17. I don't think the 2k was that short. Maybe 1.8? The 1k winner did it in 11 minutes, the 2k in 22. Compared to the North Bondi Roughwater (similarly benign conditions despite the name) the winner did it in 25. So short, yes, but not as short as last year.

    Ocean swims are frequently a bit long or a bit short. Or they're just right and we swim another 500 metres because we can't navigate. It's all part of the charm. Don't hold your breath though for an official distance. They were moving the buoys mid-race so they'll have no idea.

  18. Cole Classic 2009 – what a pathetic stuff up! This Cole regular says never again after today.

    Les Apolony

  19. Good Swim,Nice swell,Fast swimmers,Poor presentation,Looking forward to Cole 2010

  20. I saw the buoy do its disappearing act. After rounding the 'queenscliff' white buoy I spotted the final one, which we were instructed to turn left around and headed straight for it. Everyone else was swimming straight back towards Shelley. 'Ha' I thought, 'they are going to have to turn around and come back out to go round it,' I thought as I swam off in a different direction. Then as I approached it, the buoy was hauled into a rubber duckie and sped off!! Bugger, lost out on that one and then headed into Shelley beach where upon crossing the finish my timing chip didn't work and I registered no time. Lucky I didn't fall for the briefing at Manly at 9:50 instruction! Pretty average for $45. The guy with the megaphone at the start really didn't seem interested or experienced in making sure people new the course and that was a disappointing effort.

  21. Ha ha ha all you lot!

    I spent my $55 on a lovely lunch after a gorgeous 2km swim at Curl Curl, just myself and a few fish....

    This is the first Cole I have missed for quite a few years. Doesn't sound too much like that was a bad thing!

    see you next weekend.

  22. Cole Classic - what a complete fuck up.

    We were waiting so long on the beach for the race to start and looked on in disbelief at the buoys being moved around. When I started the race there were 5 buoys to swim around. As I passed the first white buoy I saw the second white buoy hundreds of metres from where it was when I had left the beach and as I swam towards it I asked a life-saver if I needed to swim around it, the answer was no. So we were expected to just 'know' the number of buoys was reduced half way around??

    Shelley as a start venue was way too small for the size of the waves that were leaving the beach. If it had been a 'normal' ocean swim on the calendar then the seasoned campaigners would have loved to have battled through the surf at Manly.

    After a frustrating swim I got home to check results online and could not find my name anywhere... and I didn't even lose my tag on the way around, it just didn't work!

    Thank goodness for the big swell to swim through otherwise it would have been a complete waste of a day.

    Looking forward to getting back to a real ocean swim at Bondi next week and not another corporate disaster. Good chance Fairfax might not be alive to run this debacle next year given the crisis - maybe thats one positive side to the downturn?

  23. What a fiasco!
    Shame Fairfax, shame!
    I carefully noted all the arrogance you have displayed to Mr Oceanswims and the entire oceanswimming community and thought you must have the "Cole" organised within an inch of its life. How wrong could I be! You people and the race director have no bloody idea what you are doing. The way the "Cole" was run is a recipe for disaster. As an ex Ambo, I am always very aware of unsafe situations (eg: P platers speeding on the road - I've seen the sad result too many times).
    It is a small miracle no one died at the "Cole", but then they wouldn't know, would they? Give it another year or two run like this and there will be a death, if not several. No one had any idea exactly who or how many had entered the water to race.
    Moving the marking cans and not guiding the lead swimmers is just dumb. I waited and watched with my wife for well over a hour from the elite start before her wave. We watched many of the water safety ski's just get in the way at the starts and no one guiding the swimmers to stay on course during the bulk of the race. They were all over the place with many way off course. If someone got into difficulty, would anyone know? - I doubt it. I have seen the photos on the site of one of the crashes. For those of you who weren't there, they are good but don't do the situation justice - it was worse than it looked. The water safety just sat there and watched it happen! It was at this stage I tried to get my wife to abandon her plan to swim. She did swim and arrive back again safely no thanks to the race organization. The presentation was over before my wife finished and there were plenty who finished after her.
    As one previous blogger put so well "They couldn't organize a root in a brothel".
    We won't be back!
    Value for money?... Just a joke!
    I feel sorry for the Cole brothers, how embarrassing. I doubt their Dad would have approved of this fiasco. Fairfax have stuffed a good event. Rude, arrogant, pompous turds!

  24. To the race director and Fairfax.
    Go to Australia's largest oceanswim: Lorne, Victoria.
    It runs like precision Swiss clockwork, nothing is left to chance.
    You don't need to spend the next 20 years reinventing the wheel.
    Just for the record, it's cheaper and they include a very nice T-shirt as part of the entry.

  25. Going to go out on a limb here and say that I really enjoyed the 1km 2009 Cole, my first ocean race as participant. The atmosphere was great, the confusion no worse than last year (what happened to the locker I booked btw?), and the water temperature perfect.

    Apart from suddenly gaining a position in the great stroke debate (30 metres into the race, the fit-looking guy in front of me suddenly abandoned the freestyle and started breast-stroking.. huh?) and learning a valuable tactical lesson (you can't run ashore in nipple-deep water), it all went very smoothly for me, however scary the event pics may look.

    Guess it helps that the g/f took out her age group in the 2km again (another plate for the collection) as well as coming in third overall. When your parter's happy...

  26. Something never quite adds up when I hear comments about the CC. All I’ll say is this. Bondi thought there was more money. The SMH wants advertising rights for the future. The Coles haven’t run a good event since Bondi. SMH isn’t to blame. Many of you just don’t see that the Coles (after Graham) appear to have taken it in this direction. If the Coles have no financial interest in the CC then just come on here and say so. If it ran a loss one year at Manly then it would be because of poor management. Not poor management by the SMH mind you.

    Really though most of the things SMH did wrong yesterday happen at other swims. Generally in all ocean swims I've noticed a slow decline in the attitude towards the race aspect. In the years passed the effort went into making sure races were well run, timed properly and all were given accurate results. Winners were recognised and people accepted the genuine stuff ups better. Now it's who cares we get the money anyway. has pushed the community (average swimmer) aspect and now you have it. Moving bouys & bad timing. It’s no longer important. Take the CC yesterday. Moving Buoys? Well Bilgola did this with even more dramatic effect. Making age group winners go to a table and beg. Well they did this at the Big Swim last year. I remember Olympic champions being told to get prizes from the back of a trailer. Timing chips falling off.True.However the Big Swim had timing errors this year. Stuffed marshalling at the CC. Well that happened last year as well.(hence why the 200 ignored the instructions in that wave).Transferring to Shelley Beach. Well Bondi & Whale Beach and others have all been worse by cancelling in recent years with no alternative location. The CC hasn't been well run since Bondi. The Big Swim has become a Big Marshmallow and the CC has the bumbling presenter every year. Did he actually say "and the three winners of the 1km are....Hello Layne Beachleys cousin" (without announcing the 1km winner)? You see this was a Cole doing the presentation and not the SMH. Bondi SLSC ran a good CC. Go to Bondi this weekend and see for yourself. They know how to do it well. They recognise effort well.
    I actually thought the Big Swim had more safety issues this year than other years (my opinion).
    There are actually much better swims on the calendar than CC & the Big Swim.
    Avalon has been very well run for years and has great spot prizes for everyone. As does Monavale. These two offer more to the average mug. The 3 Points Challenge have better age group gifts than the CC plates. Coogee is better run and a better location than The Big Swim or CC. Bondi still offer good age prizes. Cooks Hill reward age group winners with $200 cash. Bilgola has great prize money for overall winners. Newcastle across the Harbour has possibly the best venue and makes you feel special for the effort. Great overall prizes too. Go there and see. Even OS.C says this. B2B is the fastest growing and will become the main journey swim.
    Toowoon Bay is a magical location. The Manly swim a few weeks after CC has better age prizes and is well run. Shark island is really well run and quite an old swim.
    Who gives a hoot about the CC and The Big Swim. They both smell like Whale crap (I smelt it once).
    What’s more, the smaller surf clubs need the money not the larger clubs at the prestige beaches.

    When I think about it….…….CC & The Big Swim...ho hum...I don’t care anymore about these two. Trust me they all make money for something or someone. It may be on the back of volunteer labour but they return cash. Serious cash for the big events and minor cash for smaller clubs.

    Michael C

  27. Surprising to see the SMH's coverage of their swim yesterday. No mention of it on the front page at all. What? Are they ashamed of it? Or don't the editorial people know they're involved? There's a report on page 3. then you have to go to the sports pages for more reports and pictures. Then they send you to their website for full results. Not like the City to surf. They run a wraparound supplement of results for that race. Aren't they proud of owning the Cole Classic? Are they in it reluctantly? do they know what they are doing? it makes you wonder. Good on you, ocean swims, for pointing out all the money they are making. Where's it going? Big T

  28. Definitly didnt think it was 2k, although I had a horrible race my preparetion was not exactly stellar (getting drunk on friday night after work was not a good idea)

    Overall it was ok, dont think I will do it again. That was only my 2nd ocean swim and will probably stick to the smaller ones now.

    I vastly need to work on my training though

    Overall I enjoyed it but will give serious consideration to doing it next year.

  29. There are occasional compensations to being an over 55 (hard though it may be to believe from my appearance that I am) and on Sunday my late, late, late start enabled me to secure a vantage point in the shade just above the pool near Fairy Bower to watch proceedings.

    First comment - when you know it's close to a kilometer to walk from South Steyne to Shelley, you're a boofhead if you are an elite swimmer and are still at North Steyne at 9.50 for the "mandatory" race briefing. Not that I can see how it's mandatory when the organisers haven't a pig's whistle's idea of who's there and who isn't. I certainly wasn't.

    So from my vantage point I was able to watch the predictable late start of the elite wave, which was just as well because they were still trying to decide where to put the third, orange booey as the leader rounded the first booey.

    I could see what seemed to me, in my shady spot, and interminable delay for one of the later waves - it must have seemed a lot more interminable for those waiting in the hot sun to start.

    I could chuckle at the final white booey that went in and out like like a demented shuttlecock, being changed about 6 times before the water safety guys, who seemed to develop a herd instinct and moved in packs, gave up and moved it entirely before I entered the water.

    I could also see the confusing but superfluous white booey in the far distance off Queenscliffe - the one that the far orange booey had been level with before they moved it (the orange one) closer just in time for the elite wave to reach it.

    And I could see the hordes of swimmers washing past me on the path towards Shelley, wincing as their bare feet encountered little stones and hot concrete and sizzling as their near naked bodies were battered by the sun. As has been canvassed before by Mr Oceanswims, my Pommie heritage gives me a disadvantage in the water, a foriegn element in my home country, but it does give me an advantage in grey matter. And, unlike 99% of the field, I'd worked out that, if we were starting and finishing at the same place, namely Shelley, I could wear my track suit, trainers and socks on the walk to and from the beach and save my poor soft feet from the nsaty hard path.

    From my vantage poinjt I could also see that 99% of the field was swept a good 30 to 50 metres in-shore from the first booey and had to battle back out to sea - and then from the second booey they were swept outwards and had to battle back in to the last orange booey.

    If you've seen those pictures where they put dye into the sea to show unwary tourists how rips move, this was similar. Instead of dye we had swimmers and the entire field described a big letter "S", left from the first booey, right from the second and back to the third.

    As far as the move to Shelley goes, I reckon it was fair enough. The waves weren't enough to deter us experiences, if water-phobic, oceanswimmers but I can see that the first timers could easily had wet their cossies in the attempt to get out.

    Once I finally strolled to the beach, rested from my seat in the shade, unhassled by following the organisers' daft instructions and with my bacon, hash browns and mushrooms well digested, I started at 11.15 (not as late as I'd feared on viewing the disorganisation) and it was really a rather pleasant swim, the swell nonwithstanding.

    It took a considerable effort of will to totally ignore all the other swimmers on rounding the first booey and strike off sharp right for the high rise I'd sighted from the shore, but it paid off as I headed straight to the second booey and gained me, I estimate, a good minute or two by avoiding the pull into shore.

    I was confused somewhat by overtaking a blue capped (same as me) breaststroker; minding his own business, certainly not getting in my way, but I wondered, how did he get ahead of me in the first place, as I got a good start and swam a much better line then the rest of the field to the second booey (and the third as well).

    No matter. The long haul back to Shelley from the first white (fourth in total) booey was uncomplicated by any other confusing booeys, the last white one having long given up the ghost, and enlivened by another blue capped swimmer who, upon coliding with me, stopped to apologise. I was so gobsmacked at this unexpected politeness that I almost forgot to breathe, but it didn't stop me racing to beat him up the beach - in my quest to be in the top 90% I give no quarter.

    Overall, a very nice swim but overhyped and underserviced by Fairfax and you're right, whoever said it, I could do without the running ill-informed commentary from HG.

    Next year? Put on a decent 2k at a nice beach in competition and I'll be there - I'll do the Cole if it's that or nowt, but it didn't have the charm of the smaller swims.

  30. I didn't know it wasn't two k, but got suspicious when I saw my time. Vanity defeated me however and I thought I must be really improving. Damn. What disappointment I feel now on reading the comments.

    Nevertheless, the SWELL was fabulous. I love a swim like that. So much fun. Like Coogee last year.

    The rest of the day was long hot and annoying, only alleviated by the company I chose to keep.

    That said, I am unlikely to want to do it again. Ever. There are much better swims going, for less price, less hassle and more fun.

    BTW - I HATE BEING SCRATCHED WHEN I SWIM. Yes, it sucked being a girl, let me tell you. Oceanswimming is no place to have your nails out ladies. Get over youselves, you're there to have a good time and enjoy your swim. If someone is in your way, plam them off you WITHOUT the nails and you will find the experience far more enjoyable.

  31. This was my 5th Cole Classic, and my 2nd 'Cole Classic @ Shelly'. Most disappointed for the race to be moved from the surf, although i can understand for the weaker swimmers the currents may be a problem. Several other problems that have already been mentioned above plagued my day, which I won't mention for now.

    A couple of notes from an elite athlete point of view.. the elite wave is basically a joke. they had 10 or so starters in this pack. Reason: why would I risk sacrificing my age group prizes to swim in the elite wave when the prizes are basically the same? The organisers made such a fuss about restricting entry into this wave, making athletes submit a 'folio' of past results as evidence that you were good enough, yet I'm pretty sure I passed a couple in white caps despite starting 9 minutes behind them. If the organisers want a race with top ocean and open water swimmers, they need to put up decent rewards, and make them known. Then, if you unfortunately come fourth in the elite wave, but still win your age group by several minutes, surely you shouldn't be disqualified
    from your rightful age group place. I understand conditions are different across waves and so it's then hard to compare times for age group results, but if the elite wave were more open, maybe the top swimmers in each age group would all be competing together anyway. This also allows you to compete with guys outside your age group, and makes for a much more exciting race from the spectators viewpoint.

    Another note from the front of my wave, and I know I'm not alone on this one as it concerned other leaders I talked to as well, was that the direction around the course by the so called life guards was dismal. Most other swims allocate one or two dudes on a ski or board to lead the pack around the course. Ok, so this isn't always the case which I accept, but surely you shouldn't have to swim the majority of the course without any sort of water safety in sight. It's difficult when you're out in front leading a pack of 15 youngsters, you have no idea where you're heading and you end up overshooting a buoy by 100m, comprising not only your own time but also those who are in tow. For the wide majority this isn't a problem which is probably why the fairfax organisers gave it no thought, seeing as it's a 'family swim' after all. Such a shame, since the event used to be a highlight on the competitive calendar, attracting such ocean swimming greats such as Cleland and Zimmermann.

    On that note, after five years of trying, I've finally come home with a winners plate, completing our family dinner set of 8. I can safely say I won't be back next year.


  32. Cole Classic - Shame. . . NEVER EVER - better be a bloody good swim for $60. . . cannot justify the expense. heaps better swims in heaps better locations. . . Maybe its just a lattee set who want to say they have done it. . . Add to the ego. . . WANKERS!!

    Someone put it aptly before. . . Ocean swims for SWIMMERS!! Make my 2kms more like 2.3kms not shorter. . .


    On another note, RANT OVER - you do an awesome job and provide a little charachtor to a wonderful sport and ask little from all of us. . THANK YOU. . .

  33. I totally agree with oceanswims about the Cole Classic. It's all about the money and the exposure for the Fairfax brand names.
    And I agree that on the day it was an absolute shemozzle and a media circus (so many photographers and the hovering Channel Nine chopper felt like 'Nam all over again).
    Because I was in the 10th wave I witnessed the collisions, late swimmers racing from South Steyne to Shelley to make it in time for their wave and the fun and games with the moving buoys.
    However, when the starter gun went off all was forgiven. What a terrific swim (unlike many others I found the Big Swim hard-going this year).
    Afterwards, the amazing volunteers working on the surfclub barbecue gave me two eggs on my bread because I don't eat sausages. All for two bucks! Now that's the spirit of ocean swimming.
    But did that that make up for the dollars I forked out for my two daughters (one didn't do the swim because of a bout of tonsillitis) and myself? And will I be back next year?
    ...pained expression, gritted teeth, big sigh...
    If I can hold down my job during the recession, the answer is yes.
    Sadly, the Cole Classic has changed forever and there is nothing that can be done about it. Oceanswimming is growing in popularity and Fairfax cleverly hooked into that fact. Boycotting the swim isn't going to help the club, which still gets something from the deal.
    I just hope that all the other swims remain in the hands of the surf lifesaving clubs. They run the best swims - smaller, friendlier and less expensive.
    Thank you oceanswims for preventing me from doing REAL work because I'm always logging on to see what's happening down on the beach!

  34. Hello,
    I moved to Sydney from Holland a few years ago and this was my first Coles Classic. Good fun to swim in the ocean, but what a very lousy organisation of the event.
    I have organized a lot of sporting events in my home country, I was extremely surprised that there was no pre race registration. Especially for a swim. I thought that is essential. How do they know I got out of the water???
    And it was a compete shock to me that just before the black cap start a buoy was moved. Changing the course during the event???? Well this is the kind of chaos I didn't expect in Australia. And did I swim 2 km or not? How much was the distance, they didn't know.
    For the spectators, I had three people to cheer me on, it was boring for them. There was no sound system in the starting finishing area to inform to spectators who is going to start, who is finishing, there was no music when there was nothing to say.
    I really do not understand why I should pay so much money (40 dollars) for this event. There wasn't even a kind of memento for this race.
    So next time I look for another swim, I think it is good fun. A pity the water in Holland is so cold, even in summer.

  35. Agree with previous comments here about the distance and the cost. As I finished the 2km another wave was setting out so I got my moneys worth and swam the course again.

  36. for a $45-$55 entry fee, entrants were probably expecting a professional run event with all bases covered and nothing left to chance. but no, this event was haphazard and overpriced! i will by boycotting any further swimming events associated with the SMH and their yuppie entry fees.

  37. So we all agree about the buoys being moved mid-race but can anyone tell me why? After turning the top can i picked my mark for the final white can off Shelley....laughing along the way as i noticed everyone paddling off line to the left...horror when i realised too late that the final white turn buoy was not there and i had probably lost 50 -100 metres on the peloton. What the..?? Won't see you next year (officially that is) CM.

  38. I highlight a few examples of a very poorly run event -
    1) change of course during event
    2) no specific starting break between waves
    3) wetsuits and fastsuits allowed without objection
    4) no presentation
    5) certainly not the fun day as in the past
    6) where has all the money gone ?
    David Ross

  39. I am a fairly new (pool swimmer) to the sport of open water swimming. Having completed the Bilgola swim and the Bondi Roughwater recently I was expecting a great event. I was terribly disappointed as were my company of onlookers who felt the whole event lacked atmosphere and enjoyment.
    While I enjoyed the swell, I was terribly confused about the course given it was moved just before my wave started. I was also a little peeved to find a scarcity of volunteers/ life savers on the course helping direct the pelaton. Many of us strayed wide at one point because the boey had disappeared and there was no one to tell us where we should be heading.
    Also, unless my fitness and technique has improved out of site in less than a month, the race was significantly less than 2km. My CC time was 13 minutes shorter than my bondi roughwater which suggests to me that we were short a few hundred metres, or I inadvertantly cut the course. I will never know....
    Probably won't bother with the CC next year.

    Looking forward to the Bondi race on the 8th!!


  40. Why they call this (an event that leaves from Shelley beach) an ocean swim I will never know it is at best a beach swim.
    These are not family events, swimming out through a swell and back in is not social outing and people should not be lead to believe they are. If you are unable to swim in the ocean then you should not participate.
    Was disappointed to see my placing until I learnt the course progressively got shorter as the day went on with the cans being pushed south.
    Good work Manly Surf Club, Fairfax stay out it go find some other way to make money.

  41. As I was walking around to Shelley for the 50+ wave I was disappointed to see a guy handing out brochures for an upcoming local swim being admonished by an 'official' and asked if he had authorisation. Suggests Fairfax still has a bit to learn about promoting community spirit for the sport. I am a little surprised that the race organisers haven't yet taken the opportunity of this forum to respond to many of the legitimate criticisms of the event.

  42. Shocking organisation, my timing cap and chip not there,too many people,waiting an hour for my swim - but enjoyed the ladies waves and not being mown down by 40-50yo males. Conditions were great fun in the swell and chop. Will I do it next year? Unless the entry fee drops, probably not..

  43. Winge winge winge!

    If you paid your money to go in the event you knew what the conditions were before you paid (entry fee, early entry, timing chips would be posted etc etc)and the fact that you did pay means you were fine with that.

    Lots of other events run this way and with similar entry fees (eg Sydney Running Festival). Just because its not the way we normally do it in Ocean Swimming does not mean its wrong it's just different. Many people who swim during summer run during winter and don't have problems with these way of operating.

    If you chose not to enter then you really don't have a right to be critical of an event you chose not to participate in. Good on you i'm sure the view is great from the moral high ground.

    I happily paid the entry fee because I wanted to compete in this event. My timing chip and cap arrived without any drama and it didn't fall off as all the dooms dayers were predicting before the event had even started. Any way timing chips fall off at every event and there is no routine bitching about that.

    I'm glad they moved the start to a safer location, with 4000 people to look after in the water they would have been negligent if they ran an event with lots of newcommers and then placing them in danger. Can you imagine the blood letting that would have happened if they had left the start at Manly and someone got hurt or worse drowned. I was at an SLSA event on the Gold coast several years ago when a young boatie went out in challenging condtions and died. The mood on the beach was sobering to say the least.

    Changing the course mid event was interesting turn of events but i don't know why they did it so its not fair to comment. Everyone has been careful to pussyfoot around and not drag Manly SLSC into the frey but maybe they were the ones who deemed the course change rather than some nasty faceless person at Fairfax.

    Like all ocean swims you pay your money, turn up on the day and deal with the conditions you are presented with be they environmental or organisational. No one puts a gun to your head and forces you into the water. If you have a good time you come back next year if you didn't then feel free to make the decision not to.

    Lets look at some positives:
    a) the event still exists, from all reports it was in danger of disapearing.
    b) with 4000 (ish) participants it introduced a whole pile of new people to the sport. It can't be that bad if it sells out. None of the other ocean swims do.
    c) It gave the sport great exposure in the media and thats not a bad thing.
    d) Most importantly no one died and lots of people had a great day on the beach.

    All in all it wasn't really THAT bad! I'll happily be back for more fun next year and I look forward to next weekend and whatever challenges or situations it throws up. I'm sure the Cole Classic organisers are already considering how they can make a good event even better next year.

  44. Iv'e seen dat sydeny running festival..its in march ins't it?
    All tha floats and crap..ya cant compare a gay event like dat to the coleMatt.


  45. I traveled up from Vic specifically to do the Cole Classic, as did a couple of my mates. We all had a ball, as did the dozen or so of our friends, most of who are Manly locals.

    I can't believe the crap and carry on that I read on this site - bell aching about the distance not being correct, or the $45 entry fee.

    I swam an event at Queenscliff (Vic) on Saturday prior to flying to Sydney. The race cost $45, was meant to be 1.2km (I doubt it), it started more than one hour late, and guess what, no one complained.

    os.c has explained that if smh hadn't stepped in the event would have folded.

    I'm sure if Manly weren't happy with their divvy they'd towel it and another Club would step in.

    My advice to 'swimmers' who didn't enjoy it would be to stay away.

    Whatever you do don't bother coming to Vic where you'll have to put up with $75 entry fees (Pier to Perignon), swimmers in wetsuits, waves of 300 (Lorne Pier to Pub), and stuff-all in the way of prizes.

    I love 'em all and thank the clubs, the Coles and smh for running them.

  46. I think the word is concientious objector. . .

    Surel on principal alone you would boycot it. .

    I doubt this represents what ocean swimming/ nay the ocean swimming commnunity stands for??

    A littel like an investment banker oozing in ego nd capitalistic ways who sits at you rdinner tble filled with hippies?? Just doesnt work ddoes it??

    PS - That doesnt mean oceanswimmers are hippys by the way - Just means we must be really relaxed after having a great ocean swim getting bashed around by the surf . . . .

  47. Note re blog above from Olly Travers: Olly is associated with a Cole Classic event partner. He should have declared this. Must have forgotten.


  48. What can I say… well here goes… The race was moved due to dangerous currents. Fair enough. It looked pretty dangerous. There was a bunch of 8-10 year old kids learning to surf on their foam surfboards: pretty savage waves. Then, after the swim was over and the presentation non-event had occurred, and most of the swim participants had left, a member of Manly LSC announced over the loudspeaker that they had opened up an area of flags for the general public to swim. If it’s safe enough for the general public to get their feet wet, surely it’s safe enough for people who want to challenge themself to swim 1km or 2km. I’m not blaming Manly LSC, because it’s pretty obvious they were under the corporate orders of the swim dis-organisers.

    At the start of the day the announcer at Manly LSC said over the loudspeaker that there would be a briefing at Manly Surf Club for the 1km event at 8:50am. We all waited around, as you would. At 8:45am the announcer then said that the briefing was over at Shelley Beach at 8:50am so we need to get over there… Hello!!!

    I didn’t hear the briefing about the 2km race because I was totally confused about where it was supposed to be held. When it was my wave’s turn to start, I went to the start line still trying to find out the details of the course. As we stood at the start line, the starter asked who didn’t know the course. Two-thirds of the hands went in the air. He then proceeded to tell everybody what the course was supposed to be. Bad luck if you needed time to line up landmarks as bearings to get a gauge of which direction to swim. As it turned out, my confusion didn’t matter in the end. It just blended into the wave of general confusion. Other swimmers, who thought they knew where they were going, then had the course changed in the middle of their swim, after they had entered the water. Who, in their right mind changes the swim-course after the swim has started, when half the swimmers are already in the water. What the….!!!

    During the swim, people who were being rescued were funnelled through the finish line. This was obviously so the organisers could wipe their hands of those people and prove that they had completed their duty-of-care by taking the rescued swimmers back to shore, and checking them in. Meanwhile the rescued people being filed through the finish line were clocking up record race times of 13mins and 17mins, outsprinting the overall Elite winner by up to 8mins. The timekeepers saw no discrepancy in these times of 50-60 year old men on the day outshining the young Elites. These rescued people were then noted down as winners of their age categories. It was up to the actual place getters to hang around and be aware of their position and notify the officials of any discrepancies.

    This is possibly why the presentation was a non-event. They were aware of their incapability to get it right and weren’t prepared to face up to constant protests from actual winners. Those Cole plates are coveted items (the only good thing in an otherwise foul smelling swim).

    There was a whole team of people running the event but nobody seemed to know what each other was doing or what was going on.

    The start times were inconsistent and erratic. There was 3min 15sec between two waves, 5min 20 sec between another two waves, 3min 30 sec between another two waves, and so on. Nobody knew when each wave was going to start, and who knows how they hope to merge all the waves of people who swam differing distances together for a comparison of overall times.

    After the overall winners were announced, they said that everybody else’s swim times would be posted on a wall of the surf club in an hour, and placegetters could go and get their plate. This left me feeling like: “Oh well, I might as well go home, I can’t be bothered waiting around for more of this.” Which I think was the ulterior motive of the announcement. They were probably hoping that everyone would go home so that there would be nobody left to check their own results on the day. That way they could say that they posted the resultson the wall, and nobody complained when they posted them.

    Perhaps this swim shouldn’t have left Bondi. They could rename it the “Bondi Cigar” swim. As that is what it has become: a piece-of-s^*t. See ya later Cole Classic. You are officially off my list of swims to complete in the future.

    But you don’t care anyway, because with the Corporate and Media connections you have, you will probably pull in 4000 more suckers next year whose money you can grab and run.

    Sean Daly

  49. poorly organised, nice touch was the broken glass on the beach. I only picked up 30 bits of it myself. Also the rudness of the people explaining the course to the swimmers. Dont get angry at people who turn up to swim only to have course changes start and finish changes thrown at them. I wont be swimming cole classic next year. the price doesnt offset the "improvements" that going to SMH was meant to do.

  50. Thank you for removing the last white turning buoy as we headed back into shore in the 40-44M div. I thought I was dead set losing the plot & going mad when I couldnt find it, as I was treading water & losing valuable time.

    Since when do you move the course mid-race ??? They can't be serious !

  51. Last year by far the best swim I did was the North Bondi Classic.

    It's still one of the best all round swims.

  52. Next year the event management company in charge of the Cole Classic may want to look at Manly Dam as an option if they are continually worried about any swell and a few little rips that were slowly dwindling with the change in tides. Last years decision plausible this year a bit of a joke.

  53. I am also a Victorian, Olly, just currently living in Sydney for work. I don't agree with you about our swims. All I have attended (many, many over the years) I have felt were really well run and good value. Sure our water is cold and we wear wetsuits - different rules for different conditions. I have never felt unwelcome or confused about the course before. You might think the T-shirt is crap from Lorne but I love mine and wear it proudly. They even offer a special ladies cut (slim line). Horses for courses I guess.
    Please, you swimmers from NSW come and challenge yourself and have some fun in the cooler water in Victoria. They do run excellent swims.
    You might like to bring a wetsuit but you can usually hire one for the swim too.

  54. 1km and 2km entry = $80

    Parking = $20

    Watching the elite wave play cat and mouse with the last white can while it is moved to and fro AFTER the start of the race = Priceless

    Congratulations Fairfax, you managed to botch a perfectly good swim.... however watching it all unfold proved nothing short of entertainment for the masses!

  55. "Whatever you do don't bother coming to Vic where you'll have to put up with $75 entry"

    Fansy dat Olly a Victorian commin up here and tellin us tings are crap in tha Victoria.
    Ya have good tennis though tornament though.


  56. This was my second swim at the CC. I accept that last year's conditions warranted a move to a start at Shelly Beach but was disaapointed that a decision was made to shift it to Shelly again. The 2k swim should not be promoted " as a family fun swim " and if there is a few ripples around..........then go and alter the course. Other thing was that I came down as one of the team members of the Burleigh Old Boys and we came second in the overall open men's 2k swim. Not a bad result, right ? Look a bit closer.....only 2 of the 15 teams were valid entries....given that many were not comprising of the miinimum four team members. My question is why register them as teams if they did not meet the basic entry criteria ? Bit of a hollow feeling , that result. On the positive note, thought the event had a good vibe and enjoyed the cooler watee conditions. Jury is out on involvement for 2010.

  57. What the CC did right in 2009:
    1) provided great fruit and cheap food-tick
    2) better improvised 2km course than in 2008
    3) solid good looking caps
    4) big turning bouys
    5) plenty of prizes
    6) smarter finish line position than last year
    7) quicker presentations
    8) plenty of waves-starts
    9) quick upload of results
    10) recognition in the paper on Monday
    11) neat personal summary on web site
    12) plenty of photos-quick upload
    13) free postage of delayed prizes

    & entertainment while you waited by R&HG and the elite wave clustaf..k. I agree it was kind of funny ...sorry Shelley & your expense

  58. Well at first I was thinking on the day "this is going to take forever" but was pleasantly suprised that 4000 people managed to swim resonably efficiently, I was one of the last waves and thoroughly enjoyed my swim as with any ocean swim I have done. How lucky we were that the event could still go ahead!!! Just wanted to say thanks to all the volunteers from Manly SLC that sat in the water for 5 hours on rescue boards and to also add that it is the council lifeguards that decide whether the swim can be run in regard to surf conditions not Manly SLC or SMH. If the surf conditions had been better I'm sure the day would have been a HIT!

  59. Still waiting for an answer on why the course was changed after the start...someone must know

  60. The yellow bouy had a short rope and kept moving so they moved it closer to shore so the anchor would grab.
    The last big white bouy was meant to be placed just off the point to prevent people swimming close to Fairy Bower where the big white shark is.
    However when they moved the yellow bouy they made the course shorter so they then moved the last white bouy closer to the red bouy at the start but then they realised it was too close and all the swimmers wouldn't fit between the red and white bouy so they were moving it back when the elite wave arrived. They then just dumped it where it was. Because eveyone saw the Elite wave miss this bouy everyone in later waves ignored it as well. Except Mark Jackson.

    There now shut up.

  61. Tell us more about the big white shark

  62. Sally B, you need to re-read my post. I said I love all ocean swims, particularly the Vic ones.
    If Colin Reyburn publishes his Fine Ocean Swimmers' tallies you'll see I do more swims (at my own expense) than any other Victorian. That includes Palm Beach (Qld), Byron, B2B, Cole and about 15 Vic swims. They are all great.
    What I said was that those complaining about piddling things such as a $10 price rise or uneven wave times are better not entering the swims (anywhere). My Mate Kevin Krastins flew up for the Cole. He's done about 40 ocean swims and rated the Cole his favourite.
    As you said Sally B, swimmers should come to Vic, but if you enter a swim don't complain. If you send me a postal address I'll send you some shirts - I have about 15 from this season alone not yet worn.

  63. So for the organisers, the Cole Classic really is money for old rope.

  64. READ ALL THE WAY DOWN-NB this was a Surf Watch Helicopter.From memory.

    January 14, 2009 10:00am
    A SURF school owner has defended his failure to warn his class that a large shark was swimming close to teenagers on a popular New South Wales beach.

    A photographer captured the moment the shark, believed to be a 3m great white, surfaced at Blueys Beach on the state's mid-north coast, near Myall Lake on Sunday.

    Silvio Rodriguez was photographing other surfers near the surf school students about midday when he noticed a large shadow.

    "At first I thought it was weed, but I kept an eye on it then I saw the massive fin come up," Mr Rodriguez, 31, said.

    "It was only maybe 30m away from the nearest learner surfer."

    Former professional surfer Gary Hughes, who runs Gary Hughes Surface School of Surf and Surf Consultancy, said he was aware of the shark and had been monitoring it.

    "I did not tell the students because they just would have worried," Mr Hughes, 50, said.

    "It was just having a cruise, it wasn't showing attack behaviour."

    Elsewhere in the state, Wollongong Council yesterday said it would erect a shark warning sign near the entrance to Lake Illawarra, where a man was attacked this week, while surfers were warned yesterday afternoon of a great white seen by aerial patrol near Fairy Bower at Manly.

    At Tweed Heads in northern NSW, a great white shark attack left a 31-year-old male surfer with serious leg wounds on Sunday. Another great white attack was reported on a 13-year-old girl in Tasmania.

  65. I'm glad my goggles are a bit blurry

  66. The aerial patrol spotted a shark 3 weeks earlier so they had to move the buoy mid-race ? Sounds a bit like the old 3-card trick (now you see it, now you don't)

  67. Actually, they should have left the white buoy above the white shark at fairy bower. It would have improved most swimmers times dramatically. (Except for that small percentage who answered "not afraid of sharks" on the oceanswims survey, they would probably have stopped for a look).

  68. I've swum the Cole Classis each year since it moved to Manly and whilst last Sundays SMH sponsored event move to Shelley Beach presented some issues non detracted from the overall experince. I must say I do love the challenge of a open beach start and finish but this was a mass appeal event and as such the move was sensible.
    Much has been written about boycotts, dollars, family friendly,history,statistics,other events, website links etc. The fact of having the SMH sponsoring, running and promoting the event is the biggest thing that has happened for the sport of weekend ocean swimming since the launch of The volume of advertising via the SMH for the event would have had a commercial value of hundreds of thousands of dollars along with plenty of editorial. The spin off for ocean swimming as a whole is and will continue to be huge. The pool I swim at was busier before hand with the invasion of groups of first timers talking about "doing the Cole" and the number of Cole Classic caps in the pool this week was impressive if not annoying at having to share my pool with even more swimmers. Ideally oceanswims should have a better realtionship with the SMH but the tricky bit is that they are both money making enterprises chasing the advertising dollars allbeit that oceanswims does it to help cover the costs of running "our" website. There must be a way of going forward together, life is about change, I'm sure there are a number of ocean swimmers who are pissed off at their quite local ocean swim growing 10x since the introduction of I'm sure the future of ocean swimming is in good hands even though there may be a bump here and there onlong the way.
    Peter Navratil
    Surry Hills, NSW

  69. I especially enjoyed this swim because the women did not swim with the men and as a result I was not swum over by one person. Yes, in previous swims, I've always noticed that the women swim straight through me and over me. So, ladies, please make a little effort not to barge through slower men who want to enjoy this sport just as much as you

  70. WOW! Has the pool of ocean swimmers in Sydney increased since Cole Classic last weekend? 1247 swimmers already registered online for the North Bondi Classic swims, with registrations extended to 11am Saturday still to come, plus late entries on the day. It should be a cracker this year, the forecast weather & surf conditions are looking great. Last year the swims could only muster around 800 swimmers. I wonder if a bunch of the novice swimmers from SMH Cole Classic are backing up with a second ocean swim at Bondi. It's a great result for the surf club and sponsors. I'm hoping the organisers can cope well with the extra numbers and don't have the usual big event complaints about long registration queues, no drink & fruit for the backmarkers or uncertainty about the course and wave start times.

  71. It's a real shame the 'Cole Classic' has become what it is. I did my first Cole more than 20 years ago.
    Thankfully I read and subscibe to and had been warned well in advance of what to expect in 2009, therefore I boyotted this year. There are so many other fine swims on the NSW calender to choose from and did not want to spoil my day and waste my money on being a lemming.
    Advice for the newbies - the smaller the swims generally the better. Less knocking about & drowning and more fun swimming. I hope they learn from their mistakes and make he Cole as good as it was when it was back at Bondi.

  72. Indeed some novice swimmers from the Cole are backing up for the Bondi swim. There's four of us swimming Bondi under our team name: Lysdexic Slim Cwub.

    For a lysdexic it sure beats doing the crossword.

  73. That was my first swim at the age of 58 through Can Too and I loved every minute of it.

    I was so surprised to read all the criticism on on this blog.

    The weather was fine, the water was clean and everybody had a good time didn't they ?.


  74. Thanks for my finish line photo! My first ocean swim having taken up pool swimming just 16 months ago. Hubbie missed it as he didn't expect me back so soon and neither did I! I loved the swell but the low orange bouy should have been in the bay and the taller one our second turn one. I kept losing sight of it!

  75. As much as we all enjoyed the Cole Classic at Manly, three points have come to my attention regarding etiquette:
    1. When a man kicked me solidly in the left breast by pushing me away from himself with a breastroke "take that- get out of my way bxxch!" karate kick I was left wondering if it is a healthy thing for a swim of 4,000 folks to let loose men of younger ages & the same age even, ontop of women who are struggling to stay afloat in the waves and then having to stop & regroup with my sore breast until the pain went away...surely men can go first so the women are not swum over like herrings & left injured & battered in the wake of the macho super heroes? (on a previous Wedding Cake island Coogee swim I was on purpose head dunked down & held down underwater by 2 men coming behind me who felt it was necessary to pass me in such a manner! so one at a time they held my head down under the water as they went past)
    2. That Roy & HG had us 50-54 Year old women coralled & then made us a laughing stock infront of everyone by saying that the "women over 50 looked as though they were turning 74 tomorrow". Not good for my low self-esteem sorry! Am I pathetic because I don't have enough positive re-enforcement? Maybe I felt it was too sexist a remark to cope with before an ocean swim when you should be made to feel really up &  good on you older girls for having a go! Where as the men over 50 were referred to as "Blokes over 50" as though it was a good achievement! A subtle but important point I think.
    3. My friend Declan Tierny raised more money for charity then anyone else or any group for that matter in the Cole. Does he receive a prize? No! Because he raised money for the homeless of sydney he gets zilch. If he had raised money instead for Manly Surf Club he would have been sent on a jaunty overseas holiday. I think he deserves something even if it's a fantastic ceramic dish made by the official Cole Classic ceramic artist. He should get something guys, do you agree? I know that the point is not what you get back, that he should just feel proud of his achievement, but still...he badgered all his friends in his extensive circle of friends until they coughed up!
     OK, just a few thoughts from me about etiquette. Thanks for providing the venue!
    Best wishes,
    Suellen Symons

  76. No one mentioned parking so I thought I would add that I sure appreciated the event parking and shuttle last year and missed it this year.

  77. HG and Roy (aka Neil Rogers) are there to provide colour commentary. If people were laughing, it was with you (or those of you with sense of humour) not at you.

    I thought people grew thicker skin as they got older?


  78. The event wasn't badly organised, although I would have thought a large organisation could manage to post out your entry pack, even if you entered up to, say, 10 days before, and the remainder could have picked up their packs on race day, as they did so efficiently at the Big Swim. The organisers didn't seem to understand that a buoy is placed so you swim AROUND it, not past it (with it placed on the inside of the course!) or, in the case of the 2nd white buoy, towards where you thought it was most recently located. The guy doing the starting-line briefing had no idea of the shifting course, and made it up as he went. The 2km swim was 1.6km. There was no fruit at the end. The rest of the swim and organisation was OK. Despite all this, I still enjoyed the swim, but hope old grudges can be dropped, for everyone's sake, by next year, and lessons can be learned.


  80. I really did a perfect 2km time thought it was more like 2.3kms so i am very happy.
    I appreciate the great watermelons on offer agter the race.
    Keep up the good work, guys!!!

  81. I have a question...there has been much made of the "4000 swimmers" in the cole classic, biggest swim in aus, etc. however a look at the results seems to indicate approx 3300 and this is only acheived by adding up the 1km and 2km swims, whether some swimmers doubled up on both I'm not sure. There are lots of names with no times next to them - were there really 700 swimmers who either didnt turn up or lost their timing chips? (Or never made it back to shore?!)

  82. I saw cans bobbing up and down even after the race.

  83. I saw lots of young men grabbing watermelons that were not mean't for them.
    Please refrain from grabbing watermelons just because they are there.

    You must all share boys.

    Hilda Thiel (City Tatts)


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