Sunday, March 7, 2010

Super Sundee, sublime Saturdee...

A big weekend for swims... Saturdee at Lake Macquarie gave us glorious conditions, for those of you who managed to get there for the start, unlike os.c. We got there for the last swimmer home. Then dinner at the Gunyah, leading into Caves Beach on Sundee. There were six swims scheduled in NSW on Sundee. How silly is that. Some were spread out, but three were in spitting distance: Freshie, Manly and the Bridge to Beach. And another two, Caves and Speers Point, were a long spit apart. Not to mention Indented Head on the Bellarine Peninsula, Bunbury on Saturdee, Coogee (WA) on Sundee, Port Augusta, Carlton in Tassie on Monday...

Swims all around the place on the biggest swim weekend of the year. Tell us about your experiences, thoughts, etc. Click the comments button below. And tell us who you are...


  1. Very sad to say that i will not, as hoped, be at the manly swim due to injuring my ribs...hoping to be recovered soon. Very disappointed, have a great swim everyone! I'll be home snivelling.

  2. Congratulations to the Caves Beach organanisers for putting on a first class swim. Navigatng around the big orange buoys was easy and the rescue crew were always close at hand. I didn't get lost once!
    A fantastic swim!!

  3. Why aren't there more swims on a Saturday? Did Freshie today but disappointed I missed out on the Manly swim. Pity they didn't do one of them on the Saturday. I could have done both and contributed to the financial health of each surf club. Everyone's a winner!

  4. Freshie SLC should be congratulated for an excellent swim -10/10.

    Small, friendly, well organised (prize giving was just after the last swimming came) plus cold water and fruit at the end.

    Roz Elliott

    PS. I'm sure the lassy who kicked me in the face foot hurts more than my mouth having connected with lots of my teeth!

  5. Manly was exceptional today.

    Waves and weed (not too bad), the threat of bluebottles that thankfully never arrived, swimming across the shark net, sightings of fish on the reef, scuba divers blowing bubbles, and the sweet swell that gave us all a gentle shove to the finish line way up the beach. Bliss.

  6. A great relaxed swim at Freshwater today. Timing and course length was a bit ordinary, along with the high price of parking and the ranger came and booked quite a few cars despite the ticket machine being out of order and the other machine being quite hard to find.

    However the water was beautiful and the water at the end very welcome. Any idea if times/ positions will be made available online?

  7. After a weeklong bout of a debilitating mystery fever that I've named "Achy-breaky body syndrome", and therefore no training, I was a doubtful starter at Lake Macquarie on Satdy.

    But what glorious day it turned out to be. The sun was shining, the wind was light and we had a lovely ferry ride over to the start at Coal Point. The Nor'easter threatened at the start but we called it's bluff and swam into the lieu of Green point whereupon we had glassy conditions right to the finish.

    To my regret, with approximately 500m to go, I tried to drag off a fellow swimmer of similar ability, whom I'd been match racing for the best part of course across the lake; whereupon I copped a couple of filthy calf cramps for my trouble, and got done like a dinner by him.

    As I tried to stretch my calf muscles out and keep swimming, the shin cramps came in and it was all over. As I'm sure many a fellow swimmer has experienced before, it was like dragging a pair of bootmaker's lasts through the water behind me.

    But on the whole a great event. Well done to the organisers at Swansea Belmont SLSC, I'll be back again with a little more stamina next year.

    Albeit stiff and sore, but without a shadow of doubt in my mind, I headed on to Caves Beach the next day. Another ripper sunny day except this time a different challenge. Not one of shear distance, but one of adverse marine conditions. The Nor'easter was fairdinkum this time and the chopped up open expanse of the Tasman Sea lay before us; littered with sea lice and peppered with blue bottles. Slap, sting, splash and itch was the order of the day.

    But what great swim? The seabed was visible throughout the entirety of the race, especeially as we swam along the bombora a little outside the cans. And at one point a set even broke across the course, with a foot high foamy wave necessitating a dive under it, lest one should cop a gob full of the mighty Tasman.

    Aarrgh me hearties! Now that be ocean swimmin, yer hear!

    Once again love the work of the organisers at Caves and I'll be back again with bells on next year.



  8. P.S. I forgot to mention the lovely little impromptu apre race birthday party that Nicolee, Tacoma Jim, Rosie, et al, put on for Mrs Sparkle. I'm sorry I can't remember who baked the cupcakes but they were in superb nic.

    They put on a marvellous little spread of deadset ironman food, which of course included a birthday cake, adorned with a singing candle, along with a wee tincture of champers to desalinate the vocal chords for singing "happy birthday" to the lucky girl.

    And just as Mr Os.c bangs on about the kulcha of oceanswimmin, it doesn't get much more kulcheral than that. What beautiful gesture to cap a beautiful weekend.



  9. Never, Never Never Again. As fantastic as the bridge to manly swim could be, once again the organisers have stuffed it up again.

    I have swum this race and this time round was on the boat as a coach for a friend of mine and was very disappointed.

    First we had a delay of 90min as we waited for an oil tanker to come under the bridge - why did the organisers not know about this?

    So off we went at 830 - pretty lucky with the weather but not as calm as it was at 7am the original start time.

    Got to Bradleys head after around and hour and a bit and got swamped by ski paddlers who were sent off at their normal start time which meant the hit the swimmers at the narrowist part of the course - very handy.

    OK - kept going, water a lot choppier and then we had the experience of being in the middle of a maxi yacht race. Amazing sight seeing them so close but not when you have a swimmer underneath them. Not sure why organisers were not aware of this either?

    Then as we had about 40 mins to go my swimmer was told to get out of the water as maritime services said it was too dangerous - fair enough but if we had started on time we would have been able to finish along with the rest of the field. An oil tanker on the other side of the harbour being pulled by tugs would have been safer than a bunch of maxi boats as you try and swim across the heads.

    We then just returned home.

    At no point were we asked our names or for the timing band so that they knew the swimmer was alive and well, but when I looked at the results, apparently my friend hadn't even started. As far as the organisers are concerned - we weren't even there. Luckily we were one of the few who had a boat as support.

    It astounds me in these days of insurance and saftey concerns that are so high we can't walk across the road without a policy - that organisers like this are able to go ahead each year. A disaster waiting to happen.

    Caves beach is looking good next year

    Coach Charm

  10. Did the Lake Macquarie swim on Saturday and Caves beach on Sunday and loved both and will be back next year for another go.

    My one suggestion would be to the safety craft at Lake Macquarie. Can someone please lend the people on the surf skis some safety vests or brightly coloured clothing?

    I was trying my hardest to follow a dark blue ski on blue water with 2 blue and white clothed occupants against a beautiful blue sky. As you can guess I regularly lost sight of them.

    Other than the interesting choice of colours I was impressed with the amount of safety craft and thought it was a well run swim. Would like to see the categories split into wetties and non-wetties next year though.

    And Caves beach, well I cant say a bad thing about it! Challenging conditions and a fabulous atmosphere. An all round fantastic ocean swim and well worth the drive up the coast.

  11. Caves Beach continues to be one of the best organised swims on the ocean swimming calendar. The volunteers at registration were so enthusiastic and took great care to make sure that we knew exactly what was happening and when, and how to get to the start at Spoon Rocks.

    They even managed to lay on some slightly more challenging conditions. That swell rocked! Plus having buoys that you could actually see - terrific. How reassuring to round one buoy and to be able to spot the next one, in a swell, without difficulty. Other swim organisers please take note.

    At the end there was delicious fruit and plenty of water to refresh and revitalise, followed by a shower to desalinate. Add to this the friendliness of all concerned and it was a top swim.

    My only regret was that I did not have time to do the Across the Lake swim on Saturday. That would have been a perfect weekend. If the organisers of the 2 swims could coordinate their dates next year and run the swims on the same weekend, I feel sure that many of us Sydney swimmers would make a weekend of it.

    One thought. Did they have to have the presentations at another venue? I felt that moving to a different place took something away from the event. I have really enjoyed past presentations under the trees in front of the surf club... All part of the fun swimming atmosphere of this swim.

  12. Coach Charm..Drummoyne next year is looking for great squad coach

  13. Thank you to all who organised my "surprise" birthday party at Caves Beach. I loved the "pigs in blankets", dips, champagne, party hats, cupcakes and of course my birthday cake. I wasn't quite as keen on the singing of "Happy Birthday" by the amplified band but everyone else seemed to enjoy me being embarassed!
    Caves each did a really wonderful job of the swim once again and have to be the club that takes first place for making everyone feel welcome. They certainly have a wonderful venue for post race celebrations.
    Thanks again to all involved and all who took the time to wish me a happy birthday.

  14. The run in from the final turning buoy at Caves was an abnormally long one. I had not really studied it and figured it was just another home run of typical length. Boy was I wrong! A real psyche out. So since I hadn't really budgeted for this long a sprint I was pretty well blown out by the time I could touch the sand and get up to run. Meanwhile, there were actually some rogue sets coming in along the home stretch, serving up some formidable waves with them and posing a real danger from behind to weary, unexpecting swimmers like myself. To my surprise, I noticed a few orange-clad water safety martials actually lurking chest-deep in the break, crying out "WAVE!!" to weary, unexpecting swimmers struggling through their last few heavy-armed strokes before coming to their feet. How good is that? I don't recall ever having seen this done in an oceanswim. Just another way in which the Caves Beach organisers really got it right.

    Sad to say, however, that I was very diappointed with the decision to hold the postrace ceremony a kilometer up the hill. This pretty much gutted the atmosphere at the Surf Club, which should really be at the heart of any postrace gala, no?

    Aside from that, full marks to the Caves Beach crew!

    Tacoma Jim

  15. Manly was an enjoyable swim - big thanks to the organisers and volunteers, as always they did a great job. Was it just this year the 2km course missed the picturesque bits - into Shelley and around Cabbage Tree Bay ? That's why I do the swim every year, so please consider for next year. Thanks.

  16. I thoroughly enjoy the Across the Lake Swim; there's not much like it and it was my sixth go, and this year my pb.

    I was delighted, about two years back, when the organisers decided to differentiate between the wet-suit wearers and the swimmers in prize-giving. It was extremely disappointing this year to learn that Swansea-Belmont SLSC have reverted back to including wettie-wearers in the same category as those whose pride lies in their unassisted achievements, i.e., swimmers in nothing but a pair of togs. I have nothing against triathletes - I own a triathlon wetsuit, and have competed in many triathlons,but this is NO level playing field.

    That learned institution Wikipedia, defines Level Playing Field as a concept about fairness, not that each player has an equal chance to succeed, but that they all play by the same set of rules. Pitting wetties against speedos is not a level playing field. A regular swimming buddy of mine, who had travelled all the way from Wyoming (USA) was most upset at being awarded second place to a wettie.

    Swansea-Belmont - please - it just ain't cricket.

  17. Great photos on the website of the swim across Lake Mac. However, whoever captioned the pics needs to take a deep breath...

    Who cares about wetties? I am a swimmer by background and have raced plenty of ocean swims in the past against people wearing wetties. It has never bothered me. I wore one in the race for no other reason than to refamiliarise myself with it's feel prior to swimming the same distance at Ironman Oz, not to gain an unfair advantage. Anyone doing an Ironman event usually can swim well enough not to need a wettie.

    I, like most of the triathletes, don't care about placings, or water temperature, etc. I just want to take part in a great swim in my wettie. None of us would care if there was a separate category or if we were excluded from any placings. We're just there doing our thing and our significant patronage of th event should yield a little more respect from the writer of the comments.

    Craig Shafer


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