Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Newcastle, MMAD, Glenbawn, Scarborough, Clifton, Grange... etc

What a luvverly day in Newcastle, and on Port Phillip Bay... We had a lovely double-crossing of Newcastle Harbour, whilst Aquagirl had a half empty tank at Mt Martha, the corollary of a big week in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under.

Check out our reports, then come back here and tell us about your Stray'a Day, and your comments on your swim...


  1. Although I woke up feeling crook, I could not miss Newie's Harbour Swim. Having swam this 3 times before, I knew how much of this swim is a tactical race; not necessarily against other swimmers, but against the tides. It's a swim where making a b-line for the finish is hard work. It's also a novel swim where you finish within the arena of Queens Wharf, lined with Stray'a Day spectators. It was great to see so many Sydney-siders make the journey north to enjoy the event. I congratulate Stockton SLSC on their well-oiled organisation. The only thing I ask (as an improvement), is to turn down the volume on Mike Rabbit. Left me ears ringing.

  2. Fabulous day in Newcastle!!! Well organised and because of the generosity of letting swimmers enter both races for $40.00 I decided this would be my first time ever doing the double. Something my "International visitor" boyfriend and most of our fellow swimmers do regularly, and now I understand why, warm up swim makes for a better/more enjoyable swim second race!!! Only thing however, you'd think I had learned how strong the current was and lined up better for the entry into Queens Wharf.....well next year perhaps when I will for sure be back. ps my time in the 1400 is not listed, does that mean I can choose????? pps the dolphin passing by the jetty before the start of the 700m race was a rare treat.

  3. Lake Glenbawn Classic - 5k open water swim - Australia Day 2010 -
    Giant eels, small waves and an unlikely age category winner.

    The locals at Aberdeen warned me about the legendary giant eels "as long a telegraph pole" that live in Lake Glenbawn. But I wouldn't see them, as they retreat to deep water when the water is warm. And they were right about the warm water - I'd say a balmy 25c on average. Air temp in the mid-3O's on a hot summer day in the Upper Hunter Valley. A perfect setting for a lake swim on Australia Day 2010.
    The Lake Glenbawn Classic offers a choice of 3 events - 1k (one lap), 3k (3 laps)or 5k (5 laps) around a rectangular course. Being built for comfort (I ain't built for speed), I opted for the longer 5k swim and lined up in the water to start with the small contingent of green caps and blue caps.
    The water was muddy close to shore where the red earth had been churned up by swimmers feet and the wake of boats, but further out the water was clean with good enough visibility.
    I found myself swimming on my own in clear water for most of the course, a welcome change from some recent crowded ocean swims in Sydney. Just me, my thoughts and the deep green water, and a glimpse of a water safety paddler or boat every time I turned to breathe. Arms hurting after 3 laps, I had a fleeting thought of following the 3k swimmers as they swam past the turning buoy to the finish.
    But continued onto a 4th lap ... straight into a headwind that had suddenly come up and was churning up a one-foot chop on the lake. Swallowed water a few times as I lifted my head into the chop to spot the next marker. It didn't taste too bad. Slow going the last 2 laps with the headwind, finished strongly once the finish line was in sight.
    This was a lovely swim and well run and organised. I enjoyed spending 2 days in the Upper Hunter Valley. My prize of a handcrafted plate for winning my age category was unexpected and appreciated. Thanks to the Scone Swimming Club for their hospitality at Lake Glenbawn.

  4. What a crackerjack 'Straya Day 'twas in Newie yestdy?

    After being woken several times by the torrential rain and thunder storms of the night before, I clambered onto me treadley on the Warners Bay side of Speers Point early in the morning and had good cause to wonder what shabby weather Huey might serve up for us at the harbour swim. 'Twas a very grey morning indeed, 100% relative humidity but not particularly cool though. This made hard enough work of the first half of me bike ride alright. But by the time I climbed the challenging last and steepest bit of Hillsborough Road, and crossed the watershed that separates the vast Lake Macquarie Basin from the even vaster Hunter Valley, the sun began to burn off that foggy haze and the sky began to clear. And as I fanged down Park Avenue towards the flat bit that is the floor of the Hunter Valley, it became abundantly clear that this was gonna be a special day.

    As an expatriate Novocastrian living in Sydney I relished the chance to get back to me old home town and frolicking in it's main artery, The Hunter River; which for me is akin to stopping the traffic and trotting over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    And as Mr. Os.c puts it so well "it’s all about the kulcha!" shortly after arrival and registration of my attendance, I was lucky enough to engage in a little "kulcharel" exchange. I got chin wagging before the race, as ya do, to a feller of similar age who turned out to be an expat Sydneysider now living in Newcastle; a Firey named Bob originally from Sydney's Eastern Suburbs; the part of the world that I call home now. We parted company for the 1400m swim at the jump off the wharf only to meet at the finish line within 5 seconds of each other; Fireman Bob in front of course. It's a small world but I wouldn't wanna paint it.

    As Mr. Os.c warned us, the race required some tactical allowance for the flow of the tide. Before the 700m kicked off the tide was not long after high ebb, just beginning to run out. But by the time the biggie got underway it was running out much faster. Despite attempting to allow for this, I still got caught with at least a few others having to swim upstream to get around the first buoy at Stockton. But on the way back I sufficiently adjusted my course to bring me directly in at the gates; but I saw many others who didn't, struggling upstream in the even faster, later flow on the outside of the river bend. All good lessons learnt for next year, hey?

    Thanks to all the people who ran the event, it was well worth the drive and ride. Next year I'll be back to do both races if I can?

    The way read the entry form, you could only do one race or the other and there was no supersize-me discount for doing both. But there were certainly plenty of punters backing up after the first race. So I reckon you had to pay and register for both separately. Maybe that's why Catrin's time was not recorded for the 14 hunjee as she stated above?

    So to the good folk at Stockton SLSC, how about a McMeal deal price for swimming both distances next year?

    And Mr. Os.c, how about gettin it inta the Hahn Series? Then we could call it The Port Hunter Handicap; to give the impression that there's more than just a little kudos ridin on it? It could be the equal of, if not superior to Sydney's Farm Cove Stakes in March?

    Remember, you heard it from me first; swim with yer head, not under it.


  5. I had swim at Brighton Victoria on Australia Day.

    A very well run event. Costs $45 but came with t-shirt; hat; sausage sambo; fruit; drink and a bag full of sponsors goodies (long time since that has been seen in Sydney) and raffle ticket to over $8,000 of prizes. Also the Juniors were at half price!!!

    All that so you can get beaten by Daniel Kowalski and Michael Kilm and a heap of Juniors.

    Daniel Kowalski is coming up to Sydney for the Big Swim, without his wetsuit.

  6. Just a suggestion for next year. Splitting up the large numbers of swimmers in the double crossing into a few smaller groups may avoid the very congested, slightly unpleasant start. As this swim also attracts many younger and many inexperienced swimmers who don't react well to being accidentally touched (they panic and lash out at anyone near them) this could spare some injuries.
    On the subject of injuries - that wobbly ladder exit with a bed of sharp oysters below was really dumb and dangerous. I saw one fellow bleeding perfusly as a result. How about organising something better and safer for next year. This is a disaster waiting to happen.


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