Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Cole Classic...

We've had quite a response to our newsletter item today (Thursday) about the Cole Classic this Sundee. So much so that, it struck us that we really should open a blob thread to allow swimmers to have their say.

We have asked those who have emailed us already whether we can place their comments on this blob. In the meantime, feel free to leave yours, too. is an outlet for ocean swimmers to express their views.



  1. With the City2Surf style collect your timing chip in advance, and the lack of timing pads at the start of the race, how do they know whether I've sunk to the bottom of the sea, or have just been too lazy to show up, when I don't finish the race. Collecting the timing chips at the beach before the race starts like all the other ocean swims is a reasonably important part of race safety. I guess they are relying on the exorbitant entry fee to guarantee that those who have entered at least get in the water.

  2. I am not sure if this is that right forum to express opinions and I wouldn't normally do so but this is something I feel very strongly about. I felt I should write so that someone who has influence in the Oceanswim world may be able to do something about it if need be. I just read the latest email distributed by oceanswims and completely agree with the comments made about this years Cole Classic.

    I have been participating in ocean swimming around Australia since I was 13 years old which is now about 15 years. My favourite swim of the calender was always the Cole classic when it was at Bondi and then its early days at Manly. The introduction of the 10k swim was a great way for the serious long distance swimmers to have a blow out before heading to Perth for Rottnest. I used to compete in both the 10k and 2k as did others. Unfortunately the 10k is no longer run.

    I was shocked to see that the entry price is $57 for a 2k swim. That is absolutely ridiculous. No other swim in Australia that I have participated in has been anywhere near that price (except Rottnest which is appropriately priced for what it is). Only after I entered did I realise that you had to pick up the time chip before the race, that there was a cap of numbers and that we are starting at Shelley Beach regardless of conditions. Additionally, if you were super keen and wanted to enter the 1k as well it would have cost nearly $100 in entry fees. Most other races offer a deal for a multiple entry.

    I have no problems paying entry fees at other swims in contributing to the surf club that runs the event. I do have a problem with paying $57 to fairfax even though a contribution is made to the Manly Surf Club (I am not sure how much). IN any case, I see that the cole classic has drawn over 4000 entries this year (as displayed on the website). That is a lot of coin, surely a $30 entry fee would suffice.

    This will be the last year I swim the Cole Classic if the status quo remains in coming years. What a shame.

    Kind Regards,

    Alanna Hale

  3. I think it’s high time we boycotted the ridiculous way that The Cole Classic has been changed over the years by Fairfax. I have competed in the event for the last 5 years and I’ve had enough.

    ENTRIES are closed because they cannot accommodate more people entering – how stupid is that!!! Get better insurance or get more water safety staff! After all, the entry fee has already shot up from $25 only a few years ago to double that now. What other reason could there be for restricting an event that utilizes the ocean. They treat it as is the ocean cannot fit any more people – how utterly stupid!

    Last year, a friend of mine had entered online and somehow her entry was lost. She arrived on the day and was willing to pay again just to get an official swim time and they refused her.

    Ever since Fairfax have got involved – the swim has become one of the worst in the whole summer calendar! I am so over it and vow never to support the swim ever again!!!

    I hope that others voice their opinion publically on the Cole’s fall from grace. This swim need to be managed by dinkum ocean smimmers who are not in it to make a buck.

    Extremely frustrated and angry,

    Clint Hook

  4. In reply to your points re the Cole swim…..
    “Goodness knows how swimmers from interstate or outside Sydney, or even from the far corners of Sydney, cope with these unreasonable requirements.”
    As a swimmer from Bathurst I can tell you how my wife and I cope with the Cole and it’s rules and costs…..We give the Cole the flick or as we did last year we swim unofficial (totally guilt free), as we had booked accommodation at Manly yonks in advance and didn’t fancy spectating on the day.
    Ian Taylor

  5. Cathy van den BovenkampFebruary 5, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    I wrote last that 2009 was my last Cole Classic and I haven't change my mind. Exhorbitant entry fee straight into the hands of Fairfax - very little (exactly how much??) to the Manly SLC. It's the City2Surf of ocean swimming - big, busy, bun fight.

  6. I don't like the way the Cole has gone but I still enter because at this stage there isn't a bigger or more pretigious event on the calendar. Realistically why can't they do what they want or charge what they want? It's their joke but 4500 other people have decided they love it. The Cole unfortunately has met their goals.(max numbers & advertising-not money). I agree it would be nice to have a real OS event run as a great OS event. How can it happen given that the SLSC's only run these events for the extra cash they provide for safety and new race equipment etc. They only need so much money. A small club may only make a few thousand and would like more money but cant manage a big swim and a big club in a privileged location makes a 100k and really they dont need more.They have no incentive to provide value...they get enough money. i.e Spot prizes at eg/ Monavale are good but the Big Swim and the Cole give you very little in return. Anyway basically you cant have a big event and great conditions and a small event must provide great conditions for numbers but will never be a really big event....The money that goes to Bondi and Bronte etc is BS. The small clubs often have to manage more than one location. The clubs in lucky locations should have to pass on money to the likes of mid north coast etc. Fairfax should be banned from running community events unless the entire profit goes to charity.Afterall the Cole is not really a community event. Its a marketing/advertising opportunity. Bondi is still a community event.

  7. So much whinging to be had. Some people are just never happy. Maybe the fact that increased organization in running an event might cause the cost to increase?? I have read time and again on this blog complaints about the way races have been run this season (not enough waves, bigger gaps between waves etc)

    Yet here we have a race that 2 years running must be close to double the next biggest swim in NSW.... that has to say something.

    If the entry fee is too high, don't enter.... there are more than enough other swims in our season to satisfy the most avid swimmer.

    You cannot deny that the publicity created by the Cole since Fairfax took over has done wonders for ocean swimming in an added cost of precisely $22-27 for one swim of the year.

    See you all on Sunday. Just a pity we wont be body-surfing in to Manly on a 5 ft bomb by the looks.



  8. Tom - Are you blind or do you work for Fairfax?
    Increased organisation??? - the swim was run in a far superior way before Fairfax took it over.
    Last year they managed to cause swimmers to run into each other head first with one wave starting and another finishing in exactly the same spot (just madness).
    They also moved the cans during the race (more madness) so depending on what wave you were in you swam a different distance - none of them were the distance they advertised.
    And on the start line, the starters were giving swimmers the wrong directions as to where to turn, and that was before they moved the buoys while the race was going on. A friend in the one k was horrified when she was told she had to swim to Queenscliff.
    They scrapped the 10km event. They charge a premium for a supposedly professionally timed event. There were dozens of timing chips lining the ocean floor near Shelly Beach after the race because they weren't secure. My partner asked for a new one because the velcro on the one posted out was so overused it had lost its stick and that was on land. The substitute was no better. She ended up taping in to her leg herself.
    They asked people to marshal on Manly beach and walk around with a marshal only to start the wave without those who obeyed their instructions having arrived yet.
    Tom, the Cole ran very well for many years without Fairfax's involvement so it is little wonder that people are whingeing about an event they have stuffed up and are charging outrageously for. You are a lone voice and obviously have another agenda.
    Apart from all this Fairfax pretend to be promoting the sport as a whole yet deliberately avoid mentioning this website or any other of the swims run by surf clubs struggling to make a buck.

  9. I've just picked up my timing chip from the Mall and been given a pink strap!!! Are they just trying to rub it in on top of the steep entry fee?

    Not sure about doing this next year. If another swim is running on the NB then I'll do that instead.

  10. In response to Alanna I 100% agree with you Alanna. I have been apart of the oceanswimming circuit for some years now, this will be the second year that I have boycotted the cole classic luckily there are so many other amazing swims that are available for us to participate in. I don't need to pay $57 for the most boring swim on the calendar when I can pay between $25 -$35 for true oceanswims that really test our skills!!!!

  11. I have swum regularly for many, many years and largely ditched the Cole when it moved across to Manly.
    Having said that - I relented and did it last year. It was a debacle - pathetic little 800m loop. The organisation was dismal with no-one knowing what the other was doing.
    Me a whinger - maybe, but no way am I doing it again - especially at $57.
    The number of swimmers this year just reflects the huge monopoloy and power of Fairfax and the power of advertising dollars.
    Bring on the power of the little people through - boycott the Cole!

  12. I do not dispute the right of swimmers to enter any swim of their choosing. I enter and I enjoy many swims but have decided not to swim in the Cole Classic this year for several reasons, but mainly because I can't believe the meanness of the Cole organisers. It costs $47 for a late (ie, post-18 December 2009 according to their website) entry to do the 1km swim and $57 to do the 2km swim - no discount for entering 2 swims which is the practice at many other very well-run swims. PLUS, and this really gets on my goat (to quote Cath from Cath and Kim), if you have entered both swims, you are not eligible to win a prize in the 1km swim. I have copied this from the Cole website: "Note: If you choose to enter in both the 1km and 2km events you are ineligible for any 1km prizes." As this message is repeated several times on the site, they really want to make the point. If you pay your money especially at a premium and without discount then I think that all swimmers should be eligible to win all prizes. To do less is inequitable.

    So ... no discount and possibly diminished prizes. I would not win a prize (not fast enough) but that is not the point. Also, having to pick up the cap and timing chip (one hopes without manky unreliable strap this year) prior to race day is another factor which has influenced my decision.

    And remember the good old days when the organisers organised car parking in Manly and a bus to transport us to the swim?

    So ... a more expensive swim, less amenity, bigger crowds. Not for me. Thanks for letting me have my whinge.

    Good luck to all those who participate - I hope you enjoy yourselves and I encourage you to try some of the other wonderful swims on offer. Ocean swimming is great fun and a wonderful sport.
    Rosie Langley

  13. Response to Spitfire...those pink things they are calling straps....someone from Fairfax knows someone who works in a public hospital.... they are patient ID braclets....pity some medical tape to secure them wasn't included !!!!!

  14. If it was any other swim, all comments coming through would be postive and there would be excitement for the event. It's sad really that we have all entered and without even swimming yet, are in a negative state of mind.
    But i totally agree with the ridiculous price and the changes of how the swim is run. I compete in almost every ocean swim on the northern beaches, and this will be my 3rd cole classic.
    Im still not really sure why we had to go to the mall today to pick up our timing chips and caps. And also why the price was $52.
    So i was on the coleclassic website and had a scroll down the page of FAQ....
    'Where does the entry fee go?'
    The answer states...'a finishers medal, a race pack (including one timing tag and one swimming cap), a finishing certificate (that can be downloaded from the website), water, Gatorade and fruit at the completion of the race along with a copy of The Sun-Herald newspaper.'
    Not knowing what the finnishers medal is going to be i wont comment. They do have to pay for timing tags and caps, but the other SLSC's have to do this aswell, not for $52 though! same goes with the water and fruit, the Gatorade maybe i can understand, but if the Sun-Herald is the sponsor of this event shouldnt we be recieving the newspaper for free, we never said we wanted the newspaper, we just wanted to swim! But the reason that makes me laugh the most is - 'a finishing certificate (that can be downloaded from the website)', how ridiculous, we pay for a certificate we download and print ourselves??!
    However, now that ive expressed how i feel, a positive attitude will make my race much more enjoyable, beacause ive already payed, theres no going back now.

  15. Gawd, looking at the weather we've got out there right now, you'd have to feel sorry for the organisers of the Cole. 3 years in a row they've had to swim the event in and out of Shelley. Is the Cole jinxed?
    I often swim of a Sunday from Manly to Shelley and back with a few mates. We have plenty of space to fan out and not get in anyone's way. A truly wonderful experience, as we drift over weed covered rocks and marvel at the fish life below. We never get knocked about because there are never any more than a handful of people going in either direction at any single point in time. When we're done, we back up at Bacino (free plug) for coffees and a chat. If the weather is rotten, we cancel. Outlay for 2 persons: cost of swim is free, coffees and one banana bread (the slice is huge) is around $12.
    Compare that to the cost of entering the 2km for 2 swimmers @ $47 (early bird rate) and there's a hell of a lot of change left over.
    I had a read through the publicity in yesterday's SMH and lit upon the reference to a donation to the Manly SLC of "at least $25,000." At least, we have a ballpark now.
    Good luck to all you punters and may the sun shine on the Cole in 2011.

  16. Its the way of the world isn't it. Create an event that becomes popular and watch big media take it over because they can see the dollars in it. Big media will then obviously run it to make maximum profit, meaning higher entry fees, the least organisation required and logistical changes that benefit them and not the punters - eg external pick up venues for caps etc. This last item benefits Rebel Sports aswell as they probably sold masses of goggles. But no benefit to us swimmers! With over 4000 entries Fairfax would have reaped about $250k. The world is ruled by the corporatists and big media is a hinge pin in their empire. Soon ocean swimming will be sponsored by the latest beer and be advertised by girls with fake boobs. Another piece of our world is ruined..............

  17. Great Swim! well organised, well directed around buoys and the finnishers medal was a great bonus!

  18. Hi,

    I didn't swim the Cole because I've suddenly found myself in Darwin for 3 months, which has rather stuffed up my ocean swimming season (I will NOT be braving the box jellyfish and crocs up here).

    But had I been in Sydney I had already decided not to do the Cole for many of the reasons stated above.

    I'm fortunate that I can afford to pay $50 or so for a swim if I really want to do it (although if you do 20 swims a season it sure adds up and if other events charged the same as the Cole I'd be retioning my swims for sure).

    But why would you? Any competent ocean swimmer can do Manly to Shelley and back most days of the year for free, and a lovely swim it is too.

    In fact I do most of my ocean training there because a) I love the underwater view, b) it's good to have something to aim at rather than just swimming up and down and c) it's easy to get to for me.

    And I'd much rather swim there by myself or with friends than hang around for a few hours, struggle to get parking, suffer somewhat less than competent organisation and biff it out with a few hundred other people - and pay a motza for the priviledge.

    If it was the only swim on the calendar (as Fairfax tries to imply) then sure, I'd be in it. But when I have a choice of more than 50 swims in Sydney I really don't need the hassle of that one.

    Pity really because I'd read the SMH over the Murdoch press any day, but I really don't see that Fairfax do much for the sport as a whole.

    It will be VERY interesting to see what a swim up against the Cole on the same day pulls. If N Bondi puts up a rival swim next year I'll be in it and I know a lot of other ocean swimmers will be as well.

    Talking of N Bondi, they do a very sensible "buy two swims, get them cheap" deal for the N Bondi Classic and the Easts Roughwater which compares very favourably with Fairfax's "do both swims, pay full whack and be penalised in the One Km" approach.



  19. Although I do agree with the sentiment of what has been said by others...I have to say that I did do the Cole Classic today and this year it was well organised and a vast improvement on last year. Although the race started and finished at Shelly, it really didn't feel that crowded and there was quite a nice vibe.

  20. I did the 1km / 2km double in the Cole Classic today. Yes it was a pretty steep asking price but I enjoyed it all the same. For all the pre race comments so far I thought the day went very well.

    I registered very early and enjoyed my timing chip arriving in the post about a month ago. Today I made my usual treck down the F3 from the Hunter Valley to arrive 30 min early, no worries. Both my waves started on time and in a pretty orderly fashion. I swam on the edge of the pack in both swims for a good clean run each swim. Plenty of water & fruit at the finish both times. All in all another good day despite the rain. Other than the price the organisation seemed to run similar to that of the Big Swim and North Bondi.

    Fingers crossed the price drops a bit but either way I will go around again. Both my Cole classic experiences have started & finished at Shelly and you could say I’m dying for a crack at a Cole with the Manly beach finish.


  21. I am pleased for the sake of all those entered that the Cole Classic ran so smoothly today. Those who paid deserved to have their swim and enjoy it too. Things seem to have improved markedly from last year.

    One thing I noticed today though. I had made the trip to Manly and wandered along to the SLSC planning to watch the presentations and clap my friends who had swum well enough to win prizes. What a disappointment. Only the elites were presented with their prizes - there were no age group presentations. The age group winners merely went to a tent and picked up their Cole plates. Something of an anti-climax. I really enjoy clapping my friends and cheering them as they go to collect their prizes, and on the odd occasions when I have been fortunate to win something I have enjoyed having my achievements recognised by my friends. Perhaps the organisers could consider reinstating the prize giving for all age groups next year.

  22. The swim was great, good organization ,clear, course,not too crowded.A medal for all was a wonderful idea & those young fellas taking straps & chips off did a great job.Still way to expensive, but nevertheless an enjoyable swim was had.

  23. Agree with all above - It was a great event, but maybe, just maybe, the $$ are reflected by the weather gods - If the SMH charged less, maybe the gods would smile more.
    They did the best they could with 4500 folks at shelly, but it would have been great to swim to Manly - maybe the Manly wharf hotel swim in a month or so will become the real cole classic - for those of us not willing to pay the high price Especially if you add the $20 car park fees!

  24. The Cole Classic was well run yesterday and luckily the weather god's were in thier favour.

    The wave format in the 2km works well, as it avoids the ladies being "bumped and barged" by a very small minority who still seem to think that manners and a bit of common courtesy can disappear when heading for a turning buoy.

    One tip for the organisers next year, it might be an idea for the several of the ski paddlers not to wear bright pink (ie the same colour) as the turning cans.

    Unfortunatley the media and especially Fairfax will continue to be double edged sword for ocean swimming. Its great to see the sports profile raised by a double page spead in today's edition although the "breathless" reportage was a bit lame. I really don't know where they got "pounding surf", it was a mill pond ! Thankfully they didn't go for the "terror of the deep angle"....

    I can quite understand why some people are highly critical of Fairfax's involvement and ulterior motives. The idea that times are only availible via today's SMH makes thier position pretty transparent and i'd suggest even more unpopular. The bottom line is they want you to buy their newspapaper.

    However what Fairfax fails to realise is the sport has a heart, soul and more importantly a history that is rooted in dozens of events up and down the coast.
    With OSC (who've have done more for ocean swimming than both fairfax & murdoch press combined) individuals have the choice as to which events they wish to enter. $57 for a 2km swim is a rip off, but i'd reckon that this Sunday's North Bondi Classic will have its largest entry on record as a flow on effect from today's SMH publicity.

    Fairfax publicity will see more and more people enter swims which encourages orgainisers to stage more events and hopefully raises funds for the clubs that in most part benefit.

    In the noted poet Chuck D from Public Enemy "Fight the Power". Simply support and enter the swims that mean something to you and if Fairfax's involment is distastefull, don't enter the Cole Classic and more importantly (for them at least) don't but thier papers.

  25. I agree with Anonymous above. I wasn't looking forward to the swim after last year's debacle but was pleasantly surprised that the organisers had taken note of previous mistakes. The event was glitch-free. It would have been more fun had it finished at Manly - if only they hadn't been scared about drowning newbies.

    I went into the Cole wanting to be angry and left with a smile on my face - and a medal! I know, how immature.

    The entry fee is a turn-off and it upsets me if Mr Oceanswims' calculations are correct - that Fairfax pockets $100,000. That's not right, but it is big business.

  26. Had a better time at the Cole this year over last year.

    The decision to move the start to Shelly regardless of the conditions meant for a more organised start and finish area which was so sorely lacking last year.

    I would have preferred to swim back to Manly and stand a chance at catching a wave, but it's hard to blame the organisers when there is such a wide array of swimming abilities (or lack thereof).

    The 5 mins between each wave made for a nicely spread field of swimmers and a stress free swim for me at least (when I managed to lose the drafter).

    For the money and volume of swimmers involved I felt there was a lack of water safety on display. I would have preferred to see more water safety leading to and from the outer turning cans and also helping separate the starting and finishing swimmers at shelly.

    The only other real problem I saw was the difficulty in swimmers warming up in the way of the starting waves which ended in a few head on collisions...

    As for not having a clock at the end of the race and not posting the times online until Tuesday - a real backwards step compared with all the other swims trying to hard to post the results as soon as possible.

  27. Good swim, really well organised and to be honest I didn't mind paying the $45 fee and have my timing chip delivered by mail so I could just turn up ready to go 5 minutes before my wave start.

    It also helps that I live in Manly so it is a short stroll to the start.

  28. Was there any reconciliation of swimmers in versus swimmers out. I was assured by Fairfax that "We have start mats at the start and finish to make sure we account for everyone getting in and out of the water". I don't remember any mats at the start - did I miss something?

  29. Sorry but Fairfax did a terrific job yesterday, in difficult conditions. It's a pity that some people on this site seemed to want them to fail.

    I really think that all this negativity about Fairfax etc is counter-productive. No one 'owns' the culture or practice of ocean swimming, despite the tone of some of the comments on this site. Yes the culture is deeply rooted in the SLSC communities, which do not regard these swims as profit making ventures - but this will change, probably from the clubs themselves who will increasingly see these events as a way to raise funds and ocver insurance and other overheads.

    It would be far better for Ocean Swims to start to work more constructively with Fairfax, rather than separate themselves from it with all this negative posturing. OK they are a profit making machine, yes they don't support the other ocean swims enough - and this doesn't fit with the traditional ocean swimming culture - but at the end of the day they are also part of the fabric of the growing ocean swim scene and not going away. Calls to boycott Fairfax events are not useful, nor will they get anywhere. Wouldn't it be better to reach out and try to work with them, rather than the current approach, which seems based on distrust? There are excellent people at Ocean Swims and also Fairfax, so why dont you guys get together and sort all this out.

    I only say this because in the running scene we have just seen the consequences of an adversarial relationship. The Canberra Marathon has just been cancelled becuase of a breakdown of relations between two parties who claim to 'own' the event.

    BTW I am not a Fairfax supporter and mostly read non-Fairfax papers...

    OK that's my 2 cents worth.

  30. I'd be happy to see Bondi on the same day...have the ocean swimmers at Bondi and the newbie/community particpants at the Shelly Harbour Classic Community Swimathon. Just offer spot prizes at the Shelly and mr average and mr first timer etc.
    Saw heaps of non swimmers blocking the track in dark camoflaged caps at the Shelly Harbour Classic. I managed to avoid the submerged rocks at the end though.

  31. yes the timing mats were there at the start line and obviously at the finish line.

  32. I agree with above post. i didnt enter teh Cole this year based on the negativity that surrounded teh event from this site. It seems like I did myself a diservice. I dont think we need to 'politicise" oceanswimming. If the guys make some money and everyone has a good safe swim - thats great! Anyway onto next weeks swim!!

  33. Great event this year. Certainly the best run of the five i have swum this season. Perhaps another buoy on the long stretch out to the far side of the course might have helped keep everyone on track...Timing mats were as you walked through the gap in the fence from the staging area to the start area.

    Looking at the results, a fair few regulars had obviously boycotted the event.

    No organizer would have had a finish line going out or coming in through that swell. Some of the sets were 6 foot faces into the beach...

    I wonder if they might bring some of the longer events back now that the event is running smoothly...


    Tom (who doesn't work for fairfax BTW)

  34. I have not swum in the Cole Classic since the mid-80s after: starting in a group with about 400 swimmers trying to turn at the first can which was a bit chaotic and dangerous; the swim was quite short and, I believe, signifcantly shorter than the advertised distance; the Cole Classic was named after the gentleman who instigated it and ran it (a bit presumptuous) and called it a classic before I think it had earned the right to be called a "classic"; and I was under the impression that much of the revenue from it went to private individuals.
    The swim has changed a bit recently and I would reconsider except for the expensive entry fee and the very large number of swimmers. I like to swim along Manly SLSC to Shelly stretch but can pick a nice time quite easily to do it for free (except for the parking fee) and without a crowd.

  35. Missed the Cole this year as did the g/f due to a spot of sinus trouble (hers). Shame really because we'd paid and the caps and tags appeared in the mail as promised.

    Re the supposed boycotts, I'd be guessing that Cole no-shows by the higher profile pool swimmers have more to do with the imminent NSW State Open Championships (12-14 Feb) and Commonwealth Games Selection Trials (16-21 March). The rough and tumble of an ocean swim may be fun, but coaches get cautious this close to a major event.

  36. I choose which paper to read and I choose what channel to watch (although limited). I also choose which ocean swim to go in (choice less limited !). So I choose North Bondi roughwater, or North Steyne swims as my Cole classics affordable substitutes. However, this year I was surprised by the number of people I know who had entered the Cole classic, but had rarely entered the swimming pool. The Sydney Morning Herald classic has a place as an introductory event to ocean swims.
    (I presume the $25K to Manly life saving club, was negotiated by them ? Anyone know?)

  37. I have heard...that in line with 3D cinema trends next year the Sydney morning Herald Cole Classic will only cost $60.00 but for an extra $20.00 a free pair of goggles will be supplied that have a black line painted down the middle of each lens (copyright fairfax)... pick up before the day only or goggles disposed of in the ocean.

  38. They still don't get it! Every intermittent search for the pink conical rounding buoys whilst swimming in the 2km event I found a surf club member on boards and skis (don't get me wrong they do a great job)wearing a matching fluorescent pink top.
    Is there anyone on the organisation committees of these events that do ocean swims who have an understanding of the confusion this presents.

  39. The comments above are spot on.

    The bottom line is we each have the right to choose which race or events we enter.

    We are each entitled to an opinion in relation to Fairfax and how they promote an event (be it the Cole Classic or Bondi to Bronte)or indeed that companies new found zeal for all things ocean swimming.

    Fairfax's involvement and promotion of ocean swimming can only have a positive long term 'ripple' effect across over the sport, excuse the pun.

    If it attracts new entrants, all well and good. We all started somewhere and listening to the talk on the beach after a race of how someone went or how if they enjoyed their first swim still makes me smile after 15 years. Just have a look amd listen at the CanToo mob

    In the end, no individual nor reprentative body 'owns' the sport, that is its charm and that is why it'll thrive and prosper. Yes, of course the big end of town will want an association with supposed premier events which attract big entry numbers, its inevitable, but that misses the point. Fairfax don't have a silver bullet and in reality has little or no impact on how most swimmers engage with the sport. More to the point, they're fools if they think they do!

  40. I love the Cole Classic, it was my first ocean swim and this year was my 5th. This year I was grateful for the new fundraising website, which gave people a chance to bring some personal meaning to the event, to connect socially and to give something back to the community.
    I raised $770 for Suicide Prevention Australia, and more significantly than the money, doing this gave me the opportunity to discuss this difficult topic with family and friends. I have been devastated by two suicides over the past two and a half years. During the swim on Sunday I finally got to cry about those deaths. It didn't do wonders for my time but I came out of
    that water feeling reborn.
    If anyone would like to join me next year I'd love to swim with a team for Suicide Prevention Australia.
    The Cole Classic is more than just an ocean swim.
    Carolyn Minchin

  41. It is true that the Herald's advertising and coverage of its ocean swim has raised the profile of a wonderful Australian lifestyle sport. It would be a worry if weeks of ads and articles and a wrap around cover with those magnificent photographs didn't. But it's time to add some facts to the hyperbole. The Herald's Cole Classic is not the largest ocean swim in Sydney, let alone the world as claimed ("Like father, unlike son - another Classic missed", February 8).
    The Cole Classic has been a 2km swim in its 27 year history. Half of the competitors in the Herald's events at Manly on Sunday swam a 1km course. A fun event but no-one, least of all the Classic's founder Graham Cole, would call a 1km swim a "classic". In the 2km Cole Classic, 1,752 people swam, a field well short, for example, of the 1,831 who completed the much more arduous 2.7km, 35th Palm Beach to Whale Beach swim the previous week (known appropriately as the "Big Swim").
    In my 55yrs+ tribe, 103 completed the Cole whilst 182 did the Big Swim (
    We are all grateful to the Herald for the attention it brings to a great aspect of life in Sydney's summer but please, more swim and less spin.
    Graeme Stewart

  42. Having read all the comments to date, I have only one gripe the entry fees, as a family who swims oceanswims, $141.00 for three is beyond my budget.
    I do have a offspring who swims Nationals, there was no directive from her coach not to swim, at the time of early bird entries I simply could not aford the entry fees.
    So for 2 Fairfrax coles we have not swum.
    I sent a email about a family entry to the organisers about the cost, and entry fee structure receiving no reply.
    At least opposing views are being posted on the oceanswim blog.
    If people want to have serious comment on all things oceanswimming put your name on, I find it amusing people using ANONYMOUS SAID, or are you all related.
    Finally to Manly surf club punters in water safety as part of a Run for profit event are you being recompensed for your efforts.
    Regards Peter McCrae

  43. It's not an ocean swim...The Sunday Herald Swimathon is a fund raiser for family and you raise the money for charity.
    I hope we build a desalination plant at Shelley Beach.

  44. I just looked through the results of the Cole. Clearly, it is not as competitive as some of the other swims. Whilst some of the best age swimmers are up there (Thiel, Boland, De Mestre, Krenkels), most of the usual top ten didn't even enter. I used to want one of those Cole plates, but I think placing in some of the other Sydney swims is a better credential (Coogee, Big Swim),


  45. Last Sunday gave my sore shoulder a rest and gave me a chance to recuperate from a dreadful headcold. The way the weather was, the timing couldn't have been better; espeacially considering that I've competed in an oceanswim somewhere in NSW on every weekend (with the exception of the Boxing Day weekend) since the Coogee Island Challenge, as well as 'Straya Day in Newie.

    But my decision to sit out the Cole again this year was made long ago due to the exorbitant entry fees and the lack of a "Supersize Me McMeal Deal" for both distances, as well as the organisers well known aversion to the risk of swell.

    For the kind of bickies they are charging at the Cole, I could take me Lovvies to a matinee sesh at the flicks and spring for a spot of lunch as well, and still come out in front.

    This means any combination of the following is true:

    a) Davo is tightarse, and/or

    b) The Loves are cheap date, and/or

    c) The Cole is a ripoff, or

    d) All of the above.

    Youz be the judge.

    See yuz for the chance of a wave in both distances at North Bondi this Sundy.



  46. For any of you that read that week's comments on Palm Beach Swim (see below), there is only 1 way to reply to BANTER - actions....

    Cole Classic results with 0.3 of 1 second separating me & my buddy Ian:

    7. Spot Anderson (PROUDLY wearing a body suit & dragging off swimmers in front).
    8. Ian Melhuish (wearing swimmers & probably full of more excuses than normal).

    Ian Palm Beach comments - "Better/larger bouys or some more skis to guide the preferred wave would be really helpful. I was 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".

    My only words of advice Iano - Look forward buddy, not behind!!!

    Spot xxx

  47. Can someone tell me how two female competitors WERE NOT spotted in a male line up wave in the 1km event?. Two sneaky females tried to do the dodgey but were caught! If this is the kind who now enters the Cole, count me and my family out from now on !

  48. Sydney based Economists are considering a new economic data tool to measure how the N.S.W. economy is performing.
    In the next few years the Consumer Price Index, C.P.I., will be replaced by the
    C.E.P.I., Cole Entry Price Index.
    Maroota Peach Farmer.

  49. Can someone tell me how two female competitors WERE NOT spotted in a male line up wave in the 1km event?.

    They thought they were guys in Blue70 suits...

  50. Wow...Spot can read and write...

  51. I really don't get the Fairfax bashing on this site.

    Yes it's a big event, yes its quite expensive, yes its slightly different to other events - so what??

    no-one forces us to swim in it.

    are they really just interested in sellng newspapers - i should hope so. otherwise their shareholders would be pretty disgruntled.

    you don't get this level of vitriol for the City 2 Surf or the numerous Ironman events that are overpriced and run by 'evil-corporates'.

    and who cares what distance people are swimming too. 'you're not the biggest event cos most of your swimmers are doing 1k and not 2k'. it doesn't matter!!

    no-one owns ocean swimming. although from the opinions expressed on this site you'd be mistaken for thinking otherwise.

  52. os.c owns ocean swimming - or certainly thinks he does.

  53. I agree I'm sick of overpricing and evil corporates too.

  54. The "Fairfax bashing" is warranted because it sends the message that their model of ocean swimming is not endorsed by everyone. We don't want other ocean swims to follow suit, particularly with regard to pricing and pre-entry.

    Also, os.c doesn't own ocean swimming but he has done more for its popularity in the last 10 years than other other person. I remember the days when swims were only heard of through surf club word-of-mouth. I used to have to try and ring the organiser/surf club to check on event details during the week and if you wanted the results, you had to go back to the surf club a week later and check their noticeboard. The os.c website opened up ocean swims to the broader public and this benefitted both the swimmers and the event organisers. His opinion deserves to be given greater weight because he has been intimately linked to the rise of ocean swimming, particularly in NSW, more than any other person. Don't agree with me? Tell me the name of any other website that has helped unify the individual ocean swimming events more than this site?


  55. Most people I've spoken with about the "New Bay to Corso Swimathon" agree that it was run as well as most swims if not better in many ways. One issue is that they implement and will continue to implement things that smell of BS and disregard any respect for true ocean/surf/pool swimmers.
    I.e. Rather than read about past winners of the race (when it was a premier race) like Hayley Lewis or Malcolm Allen we get fed BS about Cole family’s. The original Cole did a marvellous job of copying & improving the Hawaiian format and worked hard each year to run a great race at Bondi. I do not agree that his deserved recognition should be passed to his name sakes for the sake of corporate bonuses. We've seen a degradation of recognition for winners. The last presentation for example was in a secluded spot with few observers. The winners of the 1km novelty event now get the same acknowledgement as the real winners. All this because it's now about BS and numbers (distorted of course) and less about the race. It's a novelty event not a race. For those who want a sedate and peaceful swim in the ocean and read their name in the paper it's wonderful. For those who want to see a premier race with great competitors its fair to argue it's gone backwards. By the way the rocks at the end are the single most dangerous incident to potentially cause injury I've seen in many swims. People who come out of the water slow won’t understand this. That's fine but not a true perspective. Bashing volunteers is not fair. Bashing Fairfax is fair game. I agree Ocenswims has made a massive contribution. In fact there is a better argument to put his name to the Le Kiosk to Corso Swimathon. Except it's not a true ocean swim.

  56. Just recieved the Manly surf club swimm email what a comparison to the cole at $25?? half the price and I hope increasing numbers of swimmers! not profits!

  57. Why would anyone want to swim with 4000 other people ? Especially when you can swim a better course with far fewer people at the same location for the same surf club ???


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