Monday, September 7, 2009

Fathers Day Swim at Burleigh Heads ...

The Burleigh Heads organisers sent us this report from yesterday's swim...

Ironman legend Dean Mercer (that's Deano, at right, leading the field home... Looks like there was a bit of a wave on at Burleigh...) has shown he has still got what it takes to mix it with the best, not only in Surf Life Saving but also ocean swimming, after winning both the one and two kilometer events in the inaugural Burleigh Ocean Swim today.

Dean Mercer, who has recently relocated from Mooloolaba to Northcliffe, trailed up and coming Ocean swimming star Codie Grimsey for most of the two kilometer race, but Mecer’s years of surf swimming experience paid off, he caught a late wave to beat home the 25 year old from Brisbane.

“Conditions were fantastic out there, it was great to have an event like this to train for ahead of the Coolangatta Gold. It was also great my three young boys could be here to watch me, especially being Father’s Day, what a way to spend the day,” Mercer said.

“I was really lucky to get that little wave at the end, I’m really pleased I’m still up there with these younger guys. I still have a bit of work to do now though ahead of next month’s Gold.” Grimsey finished second while Dev Lahey also from Northcliffe came in third.

“I really thought I had him, to race against a legend like Mercer was fantastic, but he got a sneaky wave and all I could do was watch him cross the line. I definitely need more surf training,” Grimsey, who is a member of the Australian Telstra Dolphins development squad, said.

Mercer also backed up with a win in the one kilometer race, beating home 19 year old clubmate Dev Lahey, and Codie Grimsey who was again unlucky finishing in third.

The men’s Dash for Cash saw a five way race for the $500, while Mercer was amongst the mix, it was 16 year old Lennox Heads rising surf star Hayden Thomas who emerged from the water first, dashing across the line to snatch the cash.

“I wasn’t going to do this race because I was pretty buggered from doing the two kilometer race earlier, but stoked now I’ve got $500 bucks in my pocket, might be able to get Dad something now,” Thomas joked.

Nerang swimmer Kate Brookes-Peterson, 25, took a clean sweep of the women’s races, winning all three elite events, the one and two kilometer swim as well as the dash for cash.

“I am heading over to Dubai in about six weeks for several World Cup open water swimming races, so the $1,500 I won today will come in really handy,” Kate said.

“I was really nervous when I saw Hayley Bateup at the start of the two kilometer race, but I have been training very hard and finishing 8th in the World Championships in Rome recently has given me a lot of confidence.”

Miami Pro Ma swimmer Laura Baker,15, finished in second in all three women’s elite events, while Katlin Zillman finished third in the two kilometer, and Kurrawa’s Samantha Burley, 14, finished third in the one kilometer, while local girl Miranda Davies came third in the Dash for Cash.

“We had over 400 entrants, from ages12 to 60, it was a great success, and we just hope everyone will come back next year. It will definitely become a regular event on our calendar,” Michael Boyce, President Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park SLSC, added.

We're hoping the organisers also will send us full results. Tell us what you thought of the Burleigh swims... Did you take a pic or two at the swim? Click the comments button below and tell us about it, or show us, and don't forget to tell us who you are...


  1. There were a few teething problems with the organisation at the start of the event which basically all came down to mixed communication. Huge line-up for pre-registered swimmers had on-the-day entrants laughing. The starting waves changed a few times (especially for over 40's) and a few things were different to the program (the direction of the swim for example). But it was the same for everyone and you've got to be adaptable to do ocean swims. Once underway, the swim itself was great. Tough getting out and there were a lot of different routes to the first buoy, but absolutely beautiful once you got there. I heard a few gripes about the lack of buoys in the course proper, but spotting the buoys is a part of this game and it was really flat out back and not too difficult. The early start was fine, best time of the day for a swim actually. All up, once the 2k got underway the rest of the day slotted into place and the organisers did an excellent job looking after swimmers and creating a good vibe for the event. The Murwillumbah crowd were there, as friendly as ever. Mercer's efforts were truly phenomenal and Burleigh turned on a great day.


  2. The line up for pre-registered entrants was long and a little hard to understand, as there was no notification it was only the 2km race being done first. I entered online for my daughter for both swims, to be told when upon lining up for forever, that she wasn't registered for the 1km, and we couldn't do it now anyway! All was sorted out in that regard eventually. The other major hiccup was at the end, when having taken out first for both swims in her category, they announced someone else the winner! This too was sorted out, but left a little girl wondering what else would go wrong! I hope they can get the right results up, as there were quite a few people across the board wondering about their times. I know there is a lot of teething problems with getting these races up and running, the people were freindly and helpful. We will do it again next year!

  3. Great day and decent surf to fight through.

    A later start time by about 1 hour but then to run the event on time would be good. So would a couple of extra buoys, even if it does take the excitment out of not knowing where you are going.

    Over 400 competitors for a first time event sets this ocean swim up for a big future.

  4. Please provide race organiser and starting marshall with megaphones next year. Also, would be an adavantage to not-so-brilliant swimmers if the second buoy matched the size of the first and second buoys.

  5. Apart from a few expected pre-start teething problems with registration, I thought the swim was fantastic. Congratulations to BHMP Surf Club for putting on a great Queensland event, which I hope will continue for many years. I'll be there next year!!

  6. Despite the teething problems, you can see that Burleigh has the potential to become a major ocean swim event. Some of the problems (registration and marshalling) are easily fixed. Others problems like the results and entries you see happening at swims that have been running for years. But what a perfect combination of conditions for an `ocean' swim: run south a bit to catch a ride in the rip; push hard to get out through the break and into smooth water; hit (or in my case, miss) the middle can; then around the final turn for the swim back to the beach. Straight way you can feel the the lifts as the swell builds and you start to look behind for your free ride. At four or five feet, it was exciting but not dangerous - big enough that even some of the elite swimmers were thinking twice. Not Dean Mercer though. I'm glad other people had a problem with that middle can in the 2km swim. On the matter of the early start, people seem evenly divided but at that time, the surf was clean and out the back it was glassy smooth. Even an hour or so later for the 1km swim, the wind was getting in to it. One problem with the early start seems obvious now but it took Killer to point it out on the day: they need an early license for the surf club bar to get the culcha flowing after the swim.

  7. The organisation was dreadful, nobody knew what was going on. Loud speaker and marked out line up areas would have assisted with the organisation.
    I nearly died in the conditions but I'll put it down as a learning curve. I really appreciate the conversation with the guys on the rubber duckie- you saved my life:)
    See you next year, fitter and stronger

  8. it was a lot of fun! I come from the states and there isnt anything like there!

  9. Good to See Dean in just a pair of Budgie Smugglers, not like the guy behind him

  10. The line up for the registration was disorganised but that is only teething problems and will be fixed next year. the only problem i had with the swim was sending the over 40's ladies off last. As we are older and slower we ended up swimming by ourselves resulting in many of the dnf . Also burleigh was lucky with the sweep. i have seen people on nipper board not getting around the course because on the strong sweep that is common at burleigh. I will be there next year and happy to be there.

  11. I thought we were swimming for charity- Why bother to put on a race that will just attract the Sharks- all the proceeds should be for a bennificiary not to just a couple of winners who took out the majority of cash - more random prizes and the stars should swim for the cause Miss Surf Girl - Cash is not the answer to a great event- great swim- can only getbetter

  12. A great couple ocean swims at Burleigh.
    Thumpin' surf but breaking clean, lovely and smooth out the back, and a chance to catch a wave coming in.
    The distances looked ok, if anything the longer swim was just under 2k and the short swim just over 1k. The faster times probably reflected help from nature with a rip out and wave in.
    Navigation was easy, swim straight into the rising sun until the first buouy appeared, the other markers were lined up with tall buildings and the point of the headland.
    Water safety was everywhere.
    And I liked the swim caps, top quality silicon with a strong surf club logo.
    The warm (20c) water in September and the relaxed and friendly nature of this swim will bring me back next year.


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