Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mona Vale Cold Water Classic ... The Solstice Swim ...

Lovely day at Mona Vale in the 1st inaugural Cold Water Classic. As expected, the water wasn't that cold, but there was a nice wave on to spice things up, forcing the organisers to reverse the course, starting in Bongin Bongin Bay and heading around the rock shelf to Mona Vale beach proper. Water was around 20 deg C, and the sun came out. And when the sun came it, wasn't it such a balmy, warm day! 278 entries before the day and around 270 swam, as we understand it.

But tell us what you thought ... Click the Comments link below to leave your comments, and please remember to leave your name on your blob ...


  1. An oasis!

    if the ocean swimming calendar were topography, the fertile land would be in summer - the rolling temperate hills of November (Cockatoo Island, Wedding Cake Island, Bondi to Bronte making adjoining peaks). Bit of an arid plateau over Christmas and new year and then lush ocean swimming jungle from late January through to March. Then it's open plains in April, getting decidedly scrubby in May and then - the desert. A barren wasteland.

    For thirsty ocean swimmers, now there's the green oasis of Mona Vale.

    What a swim it was, too - surf enough to make it challenging, but swimmers all starting together, and such broad categories that (presumably apart from those few up the pointy end) it didn't really feel competitive at all. More of a communal thing, ocean swimming at its purest.

    Great work from the organisers, and excellent to see such a good turnout. I'll bet it's even better next year.

    One small puzzle about the swim - was it the end of 08/09 or the beginning of 09/10? Since we've already had final tallies for the former you'd think the latter, but it was in the 08/09 calendar. Or does it stand alone, aloof from such considerations?

    Oh - and, in case you're wondering, Shakespeare liked it too.

    "Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this swim of June" he says.

    Good luck making it through the desert! See you on the other side.



  2. Nice day and great swim! thanks for the soup lovely idea. was a little rough with the crowd got lots of hits and punches through the first two gate buoys. But What the F#*K was up with the start that came out of nowhere!!!!

    Jordan Stockdale

  3. Since we have had to close off the season's tallies traditionally at the end of May, in order to present prizes, the Mona Vale Cold Water Classic thus becomes the first swim of the new season for fine ocean swimmers tallies purposes.

    So, all of you who swam at Mona Vale today, you're already ahead of all those who didn't.


  4. At Mona Vale today I was transported back 10 years to the days when ocean swims were simpler. From the quiet meleeing of the crowd at the beginning, the surprise and funny one wave start, little slips of paper with times on it and the friendly, relaxed and less frenetic surf club organisers. Truly a swim for enthusiasts and a wonderful contrast to the big time summer swims, I loved it! I even felt cameraderie with the wettie wearers. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great ocean swimming has taken off big time in summer but after today I can see there is room for 4 or 5 winter classics. Low key organisation for the surf clubs and good old fashioned ocean swimming for the rest of us. Well done Monavale Surf Club, now all we need is the Bondi to Bronte Winter Classic!!

  5. It has been great to have this Cold Water Classic swim to look forward to over the past few months. The organisers did a really good job and I especially loved the minestrone afterwards - very inspired. My uncle and I are now hanging out for the season proper to start in a few months, but there's no reason we can't have a few more winter swims between now and then - that will really test out commitment once the water temperature drops in September! I enjoyed the swim (and the surprise start!) but was caught in a few dumpers at the end and came pretty close to a complete wipeout. Fortunately one of the waves dumped me on a little sandbank giving me time to recover, but it was a lucky break more than any skill on my part that got me over the finish line. Ocean swimming appeals to me because of the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in mother nature, but those dumpers yesterday reminded me also of mother nature's ultimate power.

  6. I totally agree Mike. I loved the more relaxed feel to the swim yesterday. It was, just like the swims when I first started oceanswimming. Congratulations to the Mona Vale Surf club who ran highly efficent water saftey, friendly registration and a great prompt ceremony. It makes me wonder do we really need all those age group divisions in the summer. I think not.
    Remember Mona Vale - you are the first to run a winter swim. After your success I'm sure other clubs will follow.
    A special thanks to all the club members who made the vegetable soup and also to Harris Farm for suppling all the ingredients and even the recipe.

  7. Congratulations to Mona Vale on a great day and an inspired idea. However, I would like to raise one point that I think has been a disturbing trend over the last season. Organisers are not adequately segregating swimmers and surfers. I've seen several near misses at swims in the last 6 months and saw another two yesterday. I think we're heading for a really nasty accident soon if we don't get this sorted. With some of the ugly questions that were around recently regarding insurance cover and liability, we don't need a swimmer getting taken out by a surfer.

  8. I love this new ocean swim. Yesterday, it had everything - friendy swimmers, friendly surf club members who logged us in and out, good water safety and enough challenging water to remind me that this was not a pool swim. The soup afterwards was an excellent idea, perfect for warming the cold bits after the exhileration of the water, which was cool but not cold. There was a warm, relaxed atmosphere on the part of the participants and the people running the swimm.

    A big thank you to all the volunteers who made the day such a success, and special thanks to the cheerful chappies who booked the "naked" females in and out. You were terrific - wonderful ambassadors for your club.

    In the words of the guvernator: "I'll be back".
    Rosie Langley

  9. Although I'm generally ridiculously competitive, I agree with Suanne and really liked the lack of age categories in this swim. Sometimes the need to compete, takes away some of the pleasure of just being in the ocean with a bunch of like minded loonies.As we started the race I had to stop myself from shouting I LOVE THE OCEAN! Because I really do. Especially when I'm in it.Beautiful swim. Thanks.

  10. I concur. What a lovely day out it was. This was definitely one of the more leisurely and pleasurable swims I have done. I even enjoyed my little run back up the beach at the end after I finished way off course. Well done Mona Vale and well done everyone who participated. I hope enough support was given so as to encourage Mona Vale to run this again next year and maybe get a few other clubs in on this great idea.

  11. I agree David.

    As an avid ocean swimmer and recreational surfer I can attest that surfers are not particularly interested in running over swimmers, or other surfers, or anybody for that matter; not the least of which because it might simply spoil a good wave by causing one to fall of one's board.

    And has one who has on more than one occasion been on the receiving end some pointed loud hailer action, I can also tell you that the organisers of surfing contests don't have too much trouble in shoeing recreational surfers off a particular break when they need to either. Surfers are like naughty children who, when told to stay away from something or somewhere, will inevitably try to incrementally sneak back into the fobidden zone; constantly testing the vigilance of their parents or teachers.

    In short, give em a blast when ya need to. They should move pretty well straight away, but keep an eye on them, and get up em again if they creep back in. It's not like their gonna be excluded all day.

    A few loud mouth clubbies scattered amongst the inshore water safety and just beyond the break wouldn't hurt either. In fact they should relish the opportunity to revive some o that 1970's style rivalry between surf lifesavers and boardriders.

    By the way, great swim to all those at Mona who ran it. It just goes to show that you can safely run a swim with a bit o surf on, and in full agrement with Natali above, the challenge makes it even more fun.

    Great minestrone too. Call me soft of you like, but maybe a little fromaggio di Parmigiana to go with it next time?

    Contently (if not Continentally) yours,

    David Love.

  12. As the only DNF on the results, I wish to defend myself in a pathetic effort to preserve my reputation (amongst friends who don't swim) as a bona fide ocean swimmer. I was not the only person to not finish the swim! When I lost my goggles before the first cans, I saw a wettie swimming back to shore - so there must have been at least one other DNF. Also, I only counted (I'm mad, I know - nothing better to do) 235 finishers. So, what happened to the other 35 if there were around 270 in the swim? Maybe I was the only responsible DNF - I signed off at the clubhouse. Thanks for that. I feel vindicated. Can't wait until next year!

  13. to all contestant in the inaugral cold water classic thank you for competing it was a tricky surf . Thank you also for the positive feed back. I would also like to apologise for the horrible start. It was my first go on the starters horn . next year i will get our summer swim starter Bronwyn Bishop (member for Macellar) to start the race. I noted comments re the one wave start. My thought at the time was 270 in one go was not huge, But in retrospect a large group having to punch through the nasty waves at the back of the basin in close quarters was not the best out come. I also noted some comments on swimmers mixing with surfers at the end of the race. Unfortunately Surfers will move for only a short time , our race had swimmers from 15 minutes to plus 35 minutes. We also had a very strong sweep from north to south which resulted in swimmers being spreadout across a lare part of the beach. It should also be noted that when we book the beach for an event though Pittwater council it does not give us sole rights to the beach . The same goes when surf contests are held on our beach during summer. We will definately be running the event next year . To to Shayne Collier , im sorry i listed you as the only DNF . you were correct in that several people failed to come and tell us they were returned to the beach. You were the only resposible one. Finally i will pass on to my mother that her soup recipe was well received. C U NEXT YEAR AND THANKS AGAIN FOR SUPPORTING MONA VALE SLSC. jon Dibbs Race organisor.

  14. Just for the record, I did finish the swim and I did report my time to the clubhouse but I'm still not in the results. Seems to happen to me a lot. C123 was my number and I finished just before Mr. Oceanswims.

  15. I was interested to see if wetsuit wearers have a buoyancy advantage over naked and did some rudimentary averaging of the swim results. Now I'm no statistics genius, but it seems to me that the difference between average times in the two categories was insignificant. Maybe there is no advantage? Discuss?

  16. haha, Miss jane:
    I would hazard a guess that the bouyancy advantage may have been negated by the inflexible-arms factor. Unless of course the wettie was a swimming wetsuit, rather than a surfing wetsuit, but curiously, there seemed to be very few of those that i could see. Everyone seemed to dig out their surfing steamers, redundant to me since I am blessed with body fat, unlike Shivers.

    A lovely swim an fabulous water. Absolutely glorious and so worth the effort of throwing off the clothes in midwinter!
    A remarkable amount of biffo for the duration of the first three stretches: a headlock, a repetitious elbow jab and the deadly box-in-and-shepherd syndrome.
    Manners please, gentlemen, for I'll remember who you all are....

    anyone spot my purple view goggles?

  17. I learnt something at this swim. Scrabble, a bottle of red and to bed at midnight is not good preparation for an ocean swim. Especially when there are waves breaking over the first set of cans. Sea sick...well almost. Did swim through it but wasn't too keen on the soup at the finish. That was me waving in Mr Oceanswim's photos...with relief. Thanks to the organisers - it was fun and I'll be back.



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