Sunday, January 31, 2010

Big swims all 'round - Palm-Whale, Queenscliff...

It was a big weekend for big swims... 493 at Queenscliff, 96 at The Bloody Big Swim, and 1,831 at Palm-Whale in Sydney.

Thanks to Debbie Racklyeft for pic above. Interesting to see how many punters "missed" or almost missed the last booee.

But tell us what you thought...


  1. I was a medium swimmer in the female 40+ group and following us were two waves - male 12 to 19 (yellow) and male 40 to 49 (pink). A few of the pink capped blokes could take lessons in ocean swimming etiquette from the 12 to 19 year old kids. I could see them whizzing past but they managed to gracefully swim around us - no-one swimming over the top of you or 'sidelining' you as if you weren't there.
    It was a fabulous, nice long swim, very well organised (parking etc.) thanks to the volunteers. Did anyone else get stung? What was that? It wasn't too bad - just the odd jab - but worse than lice. Just curious...

  2. A great swim and isn't it nice to be able to say: "I beat Tony Abbott" or, in my brother-in law's words: "I whopped Tony Abbott's arse." Regarding the jabs, I have the little bites that resemble chicken pox and are caused by jelly blubber larvae (I think). And I did get a jab under the arm pit, which hurt. Can't explain it.
    Thanks to the organisers for a wonderful day.

  3. A fantastic swim - thanks to everyone!
    After posting about the brutality of the Avalon swim and wondering whether ocean swimming was for me - this has totally changed my mind! A great crowd, no nastiness, fantastic organisers and volunteers - thank you thank you thank you - it was the best day!

  4. THANKYOU to the helpers in the background.
    Whilst the gits in the bus queue were waiting, one young fairheaded SES lass said I wish I could go in for a swim to cool off.
    The Manly bus driver who did a 3 Point turn in a real bus not a mini bus, the young lady in the queue in front of me quipped I could not do that in my small car. Do we ever truly appreciate what the helpers in the background do to make events happen.
    Peter McCRae

  5. I know Sydney is different to Melbourne, some might say we are a few years ahead.

    On Wednesday in Melbourne, Daniel Kowalski swam in the 18-29 age group, .

    On Sunday in Sydney, he is 34 years old.

    No wonder he needs to swim in stockings if he ages that quickly.

    Yet another great swim. The main reason there was little aggro compared to Avalon is simply no sharp turns.

  6. I'd like to thank the lovely gentleman in the fluoro pink cap who stopped to make sure I was OK after I succumbed to sea sickness and had to have a few stops to feed the fish before making it into shore.
    Another great and well-organised swim. As Peter said, thanks to all those helping out to help make the event happen.

  7. Great day, beaut swim...especially the chop around the point.
    Did anyone go around that blue marker? I saw it too late, and had trouble finding the last marker in that chop/swell.
    Thanks to all involved.
    Ps. To the bloke that borrowed my vaso who was telling me he hadnt swam more than 400m in the last 15 did you go mate? and thanks for making me feel better about my limited preparation.

  8. Brilliant swim - again ! Glad it wasnt run today ! Thanks to the organisers.

  9. I think the bites were from sea lice, common problem in the ocean swims!

    A very well organised and well run event with a huge thank you to the amazing volunteers who let us go and do these swims in the most safe way possible.

  10. Regarding the "Big Swim" excellent conditions but very little water safety,and considering the distance and number of competing adults I tend to think it was quite a risk especially on the entry to Whale Beach where it was a bit bumpy and crowded

  11. Have you done a triathlon Dave? Compared to that water safety in these ocean swims is tremendous.In those races you are lucky to see one boat out there and they send them off at dawn, the most dangerous time.

    Often we can't see the water safety due to the chop but they can see us. I would just have liked a bit more direction around whale beach as I couldn't see where to head and blindly following others is not always the best idea.

  12. A very well organised and run swim again from Whale Beach SLSC and great to finally have a wave on at the end to make it a little bit more fun.

    One gripe, better/larger bouys or some more skis to guide the preferred wave would be really helpful. I was with Xavier Clarke way off course and had to do a hard right turn to swim back to the last turning can.

    And I think Spot should do the next race goggles if he really wants to test himself, boardies are easy if you drag off somebody.

  13. Does anyone know when the times (Palm to Whale) will be on the web? I'm looking forward to the happy distraction from work! Also, why don't more current Olympic/elite swimmers do ocean swims? Is it because it is not good for their stroke?

  14. The Big Swim results were up on this website since Sunday - go to Reports/Results - Season

    Was the start delayed ? - I was in the last wave of pink caps scheduled to go at 10.27 - we left as the start clock ticked over to 10.30. I thought my actual race time - finish clock minus start clock was exactly 3 minutes quicker than the time tagged and reported by Multisports. Did anyone else notice that, am I wrong, and was it just the wave of pink caps ?

  15. Yes Richard,

    I reckon you're onto something there. I timed myself with my watch in the same group and found my published time to be a few minutes longer than expected. I wasn't particularly disappointed with this as my time was still a good couple of minutes faster than last year's. But I did find I had slipped a few minutes with respect to the winners' times; a useful benchmark that many of us use to measure our performance.

    I'm no cup hunter so I wasn't going to mention it; especially since it was such a great, well run swim. But I could use the extra Hahn points of an error is uncovered, and i reckon some of our number, "the gentlemen of the sea" as described by the anouncer on the day, may have had a little more riding on it up the pointy end.

    Did anyone else in the pink caps notice this?

    Maybe worth looking into?

    Kind regards,

    David Love.

  16. Ex Olympians & current included...(NB.I only checked the top 100-ran out of time)
    Grant Brits(Beijin)
    Graeme Brewer(Moscow)
    Matt Renshaw(LA)
    Daniel Kowalski(Atlanta & Sydney)
    Plenty of others who may have been (my apologies)or were/are top ranked.
    Tim Laforest
    Iain others
    Then you have others who were/are top ranked in triathalons or surf swimming
    In other ocean swims over the past 3 years
    Libby Tricket/Natalie Coughlin/Travis N/Kenrick Monk/Dean Mercer/Shane Gould/Murray Rose/Jon Konrads/Shannon Echstein/Ky Hurst/Chris Fydler/Guy Leech/Riddo/Hayley Lewis
    etc many more do you want????

  17. None. For some of us its embarrassing enough as it is.

  18. Doing the Big Swim for the 1st time - glad I had been very well prepared by the fabulous Cantoo people...was not nervous by the time we went intto water and was pleasantly surprised by civility of people (no one swam over me despite my slow and steady pace!!).

    Would love to support comments re volunteers - SES people were tireless and dripping in sweat; lady in blue who kindly bent down to take my tag off because I was so spent I couldn't even lift my foot onto the stool she offered; Fantastic SLSC man on surf ski who I almost tipped into the water leaning on his ski after I'd chucked up rounding the head to whale beach...and the lovely guys in the IRB who reassured me and offered me the best drink of water to wash the taste out of my was so kind.

    Very happy to finish and as a purple hatted 40+ lady I felt like a champion!!!!!

    Why did I wait so long to get the ocean swimming bug?

  19. I noticed all our times are quicker this year, was the course shorter? The conditions seemed just as rough as previous years.

  20. Big day for the g/f what with winning her age group for the nth time, a hug from Bronwyn, and her picture and name up on Ocean Swims! On the downside she copped some scratches and bruising from a pair of guys in the final sprint to the finish.

    Didn't do the swim myself (maybe next year with a bit more experience) but I was on the beach to see her come in, and still there a couple of hours later when a lot of small bluebottles washed ashore. I'm guessing they were responsible for the stings mentioned above.

    Cole this Sunday and my fingers are crossed that the predicted 'challenging conditions' don't eventuate. Cheers all.

  21. I travelled from Melbourne and completed the Palm to Whale, which I haven't done for a few years. I thought I would give you some feedback as it is one of the great Ocean Swims in the country.

    It is a great swim as it has all the elements of surf in and out of the water and a reasonable distance that can challenge most swimmers while being well managed and coordinated which is pretty important.

    After all these years, the last turning buoy inside Whale Beach is still a tiny object that no one can see particularly if there is any degree of swell or chop and I would have thought one of the key sponsors would have arranged a decent turning buoy that you can see or put balloons on it as they do in many other swims.

    It was good to see there were no wet suits. Only us silly Victorians pay a fortune to wear wetsuits .

    Interesting to hear that most of the swims down South have a showbag that include a tshirt generally with the price around $45-50, and for most city swims its no takeaways just simply a cap to try and keep the costs down. Although when you think about it, no tshirts, $35 is still a little on the expensive side although it is of course a donation and a decent swim where you are well looked after.

    Ingilby Dickson

  22. Love that photo Debbie! It's a good snapshot explanation of why there's congestion at the last turning buoy of an ocean swim as 8 lanes of traffic converge.
    And a good example of the usual trap for young players on a journey swim .. the final buoy is usually positioned way over to the middle or the far end of the beach .. do not head directly to the beach as soon as you round the headland.

  23. Loved the swim. Just wish there was more surf safety available. I felt vunerable out there, not a surf ski in sight.
    Hopefully fixed by next year!!

  24. No one seems to mind the conditions. I really struggled and felt it was my worst swim in ages. I normally get in or close to the top 10 in my category but was in the 30's this year. The chop killed me. Or did i just burn all my petrol trying to stay with the lead to the first can?? I will not be doing Cole ($$$silly) but plan to do another 3 or 4 swims in the next month.

  25. I agree with Richard re the timing. I'd normally swim in the preferred wave but swam with the rest of my fellow pink caps and was very surprised at my relative slow time.
    As for rough and tumble it was like swimming completely on your own compared with North Bondi's warzone where I nearly had my nose broken, twice.

    I know it's volunteer run and all and they do do a fine job, but I much prefer finding sports drinks, and fruit that's not hot at the finish, like in my favourite swims. Surely the big swim can talk in some big sponsors? Oh and that lady who kept blowing her bloody whistle in, I swear, everyone's ear to move up the already emptying beach at the finish would be much more loved if she spoke nicely, if firmly, instead.

    I had a good time. But I'm not rating it as one of my favourite swims.

  26. I didn't mean to cause embarrassment Anonymous! I know that retired Olympic swimmers participate regularly in ocean racing but I didn't think so many currently competing Olympic pool swimmers did. It was more a thought about the diff. stroke/technique. What I do in the pool bears no relation to what I did on Sunday. Galumphing through the chop, breathing on my right side only and heaving myself out of the water to breathe. In that swell, anything seemed to go as long as I could propel myself forward. Some surf training is probably long overdue. I've had conflicting advice - stretch out your stroke or cup your stroke; keep your head high or look up every few strokes etc. I'll never treat it as a race but it would be good to improve times/technique. Jen

  27. After doing the swim last year and having a look at the photo of many swimmers turning inside the buoy on thier way into Whale Beach. This might have been avoided if the pre race announcer has said "once you're around the headland, head for the boat,see the buoy & turn right"

    I must admit I didn't see the first two buoy's around the point as they appeared on the pre race course map, but the boat is hard to miss, even in the chop.

    All in all, The The Big Swim is a highlight of the season and is really well run (apart from the rather over zealous woman with the whistle...easy does it, love )

    Now with 4500 entrants in the Cole with a predicted 2.5mts swell, this could be interesting.....

  28. I think the timing was out too. I know our wave started 3 minutes late.

    The time difference between the bottom elite in my wave and the top non-elite is about 3 minutes more than expected (going by past years).

    Rather coincidental.

    Can someone have a look and get back to us.

    Regardless, fantastic race. Always the best. No way will I swim in the Cole - total rip off and a soleless money grabbing event.

  29. The boxes of peaches post swim were the best I've eaten all season.
    Yes, it was a tough swim - there seemed to be a lot of seasickness around
    Looking forward to next year


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