Monday, April 5, 2010

Sharks force cancellation of TamaCloey?

Say what? Tell that to the apparently 500 or more who did the swim, although the wisdom of setting this swim through the break at Tamarama might be the subject of debate.

We were amongst those who did it, and we wondered why that helicopter was hovering on our heels along the Waverley cemetery cliff. Well, it is called Shark Point. But tell us what you thought...

We had a big weekend -- the Tilbury Classic at Nowra-Culburra on Easter Saturday, the Rock to Rock at Pacific Palms, near Forster, on Easter Sunday, then TamaCloey on Easter Monday. It was a big weekend, and thank the Load we had someone to help us with the driving.

Well, what did you think?


  1. Absolute joke of a starting procedure,
    10,000 start waves , at least that what it seemed like.

    Waited for over an hour and a quarter and still nowhere near my wave, before a supposed shark sighting. Then race cancelled.

    How about they start in age groups like everywhere else instead of supposed swim speeds which also seemed very dubious. NOT HAPPY JAN.



  2. The sharks seemed like an inevitable end to a not too successful day. I was one of the 500 who did not get to swim, and can I say, caution is one thing and over caution is another. Not about the sharks, but yesterday's unnecessary comment to the effect of the weather will be horrible, stay out of it if you think you can't cope. I had just decided, 'no worries, of course I can cope with that break' when the event was cancelled. All that will I won't I for nothing. What we need is encouragment, not negatives.

  3. Great beach to race at. Bad sportsmanship at the wimming post. Good on the officialls.Bring on a code of conduct. Great racing, fantastic to watch.

  4. I agree with you Richard. I sort of understand that you need extra waves due to Tamarama being narrow and at times quite treacherous, but why were waves 7-10 allocated to late entries. I registered online many days before only to be put in Wave 14 and subsequently missed the opportunity of swimming.
    As for shark sightings, isn't it usual practice for IRB's to chase the sharks offshore. There were certainly plent of IRBs! No issue at Avalon this year!
    Would be nice to get a raincheck for next year for those who didn't start.


  5. For those who like music with their swimming.....

  6. For those who like music with their swimming.....

  7. For those who like music with their swimming.....

  8. I entered the TamaCloey swim. I received a text this morning telling me to pick up my cap before 10.30am. Dutifully I arrived at 10 past 10 and to my dismay was told my wave was due to leave at midday, 2 hours away. I have done a lot of ocean swims this season and this is the first swim I have been moved to criticise. There was a spirit of elitism which is usually mercifully absent in ocean swims. I was in a later wave - I usually come in the top of the bottom third of swimmers. WHile I am not fast, I am a strong swimmer (I can swim for hours) and, having grown up near the GOld Coast, can handle any surf. However, I feel today that the decision was made for me. Someone decided for us that we wouldn't be able to handle it. One of my friends was in the last (white cap) wave and I had just lost sight of her when I heard the shark rumours. There was no effort to herd these swimmers back to the beach. I don't think it was stopped because of a shark sighting although I don't doubt there was a shark around. I think a decision was made to end it - the "fast ones" had left, too bad about the rest. (By the way, that last wave was wave 12, there were around 26 waves, and wave 12 left around midday - that's how long it took for swimmers to start. If they had continued the swim, I think my wave would have left around 12.30. Extraordinary - by then I would have been waiting 2h 30m to start my swim on a cool beach - it was only 21'C today) If the whole swim had been cancelled, that would have been another issue but to let the first waves go and then put down the barrier, no discussion, was appalling. I wouldn't enter this swim again and from the conversations I had on the beach while we were waiting, there are many others who won't enter again either. What do I want? I want my registration fee to be transferred to a club which runs a generous, joyful, open-hearted swim (pick any club - North Steyne, North Bondi, Coogee, Palm Beach etc.) and I want those 4 hours of my life back.

  9. I like the concept of wave starts based on speed not age, but the start today was a very unfunny joke. There needs to be more people in each wave start. There is no way I will enter next year if something is not changed. I don't want to spend more time on the sand than in the water.
    Also, NOT HAPPY JAN.

    I'm disappointed with but understand the cancellation due to the shark sighting. How fast was that Channel 9 chopper out there???

  10. I started in an early wave, so missed all the excitement. I would have been upset to have to wait 90 mins to start with all those waves.
    This swim was definitely one for the memories, even before the shark news came out. After the picturesque swim at Manly last week, this one was a real ocean swim. Rips, rocks, swell and all sorts of things in the water.
    Re the wisdom of starting with that break, I generally think it is up to the swimmers to take the responsibility for deciding whether to start. That being said, if there was any real danger, I think it was at the finish. Swimming in either against that rip, or being diverted by the lifeguards into a very shallow, rocky channel with big waves breaking. I wasn't that comfortable with that part. It was so shallow I started holding onto the rocks when the water pulled out between waves.
    Anyway, thanks to the organisers. Lots of fodder for the water cooler tomorrow!

  11. Anyone know about the shark sighting? What type was it? And was it a real sighting?

  12. Yeah I'll think I'll cross this swim off my list next year. Tama & Cloey are good little beaches but not really suited for starting and finishing a big ocean swim. The seeded waves don't work for me either.

  13. Sheesh,
    I'm glad I was too stuffed with chocolate eggs to make the effort.

    Do sharks prefer Lindt over Cadburys?

  14. BBW your comments couldn't be more correct - I completed the race from one of the earlier waves as well and found the most dangerous and challenging part of the swim was the end of the course near the mouth of Clovelly Bay...not the 6ft waves at the start. Have done at least 40 of these swims and that was the most treacherous rip I've EVER been in...i'm sure it was made more difficult due to the waves breaking on a shallow rock shelf and the rip being at the end of a long ardous swim when your body is very fatigued. I've been doing 3 or so tough squads a week with other training on top to get my times down and I wouldn't want to be in any less condition than I am as they were tough conditions - get someone with little ocean swimming experience or training in that swim and you could be reading about them in the news. Tip to organisers for 2011, the waves needed to leave in quicker intervals so the latter waves weren't waiting for so long. Don't know what it is about TamaCloey but every year the weather is rubbish...would love to do this swim in nice sunny warm conditions.

  15. Can someone please explain the bad sportsmanship at the finish line...why did the winner get disqualified (did he trip the winner over on the sand?!)???????

  16. Lucky this wasn't the Cole Classic. Imagine the commotion then we could have had then with the combined gipes of; sharks, event called off half way through, unsafe break, big race entry fee, filthy corporate running event, having to wait too long to race and not being happy with the wave I was put in and the wrong shape/colour bouys. Did we miss anything?

  17. After being stoked to do this swim all season, across my favourite stretch of eastern suburbs coast line and finishing at my home beach, good ol' cloey, I was pretty spewing to be put in wave 23. I completed the race last year with a decent time, (top 50) and placed 4th in the U19 category and couldn't believe that was where i was to start the cliff-side odyssey this year. The so-called categorisation by your previous swim times isn't one bit succesful or even reliable as shown today. After seeing some of the sorts in the "elite" groups i think you will agree.

    Anyway, after sitting around on the beach for ages in our speedos, my trusty friend (who was also in wave 23) and myself became fed up and, in our orange caps happily hit the water with the final red capped wave. We were both first to hit the bouy and caught up to the other red capped swimmers with ease. We hit the sand in reasonable times(according to our support crews) and strutted around feeling like heroes with our 2316 and 2301 numbers on our left arms. We were frothing after the race as we were told that if we had hung around for another lifetime until our wave we would have not been able to race.

    To all those who werent as lucky to swim, don't tick this swim off your list for the last time, it was just unlucky that this was to happen. This young race can only improve with time. Lets stick by these small clubs and hope that the race will be a success next year. Thanks to all that made this swim happen, even though half of us were able to compete.

  18. What an exciting day.A different start and finish to the norm. Loved it.I like the idea of a seeded start, but more in each wave and one minute apart would be a better option.If the seedings are close to correct each wave shouldn't catch each other anyway.Enjoyed starting in the 2nd wave instead of down the back in the M 45-49.It's a pain waiting 40 or so minutes to start. Hope the swimmers who didn;t get to start get free entry next year or something similar.Anybody know what kind of shark? Hope it was big and that they didn;t stop the race for a little hammerhead.

  19. I am curious to know what motivated the organisers to reduce the wave sizes and if this was so necessary, why they did not make the start wave times public so the slower swimmers could have arrived later and not wasted so much time???

  20. The Tama guys try really hard, the fact is though, that with or without shark ,two things ring true.

    1.Tama is never going to be a great place to start an ocean swim.

    2. Cloey is never going to be a great place to finish one.

    It aint gunna work. Sorry.

  21. jeeeeezzz seems like the organisers of this swim are coping it unfairly from all sides..suprises me no end the uninformed attitudes of some oceans swimmers..wake up and realise the dangers were VERY real today...also do your research on Tamarama and Clovelly beaches, their size, direction and sandbar and reef locations before complaining abvout decisions made...that way you may just begin to understand why things were run the way they were

    yes I'm sure lots of disappointment at not being able to swim however the organisers can not act without duty of grateful you didnt get the chance to meet that 'supposed' shark face to face Richard...

    first up I was off in one of the last waves to start...made it out under the break - but it was a challenge - and I was glad I was warned in advance what to expect - Lady Codger - the organisers were telling the truth and not wrapping up the conditions in cotton wool - imagine the outcry if they hadn't warned us what to was simple honest facts they were sharing

    yes I agree bit of a lengthy wait between starting waves - however they had no choice with the frequency of larger sets coming through- did people not notice this fact! Im sure the organisers would have much rather had shorter intervals between starting waves but they again showed duty of care at critical times - and on a much calmer day more people per starting wave could have worked well but not today - the shoot out of Tamarama due to conditions HAD to be narrow and could not handle any more people...did PEOPLE not notice the GIANT rip from the middle to the right hand side of the beach? - we all had to be kept well away from that else it would have truely been game over

    I'd like to say a HUGE thanks to the organisers for today - seems a few on this blog seem to have forgotton appropriate manners and left this part off their comments - you made a brave call going ahead but the right call in my book ...Would I feel different if I hadnt been allowed to swim...NO not a chance....for the detractors out there have a REAL think about who the organisers ultimately had at the front of their minds when making their decisions...yes thats right YOU

    I'll be back next year for sure and to be honest glad those whingers above will likely give it a miss...they can go spoil someone elses day


  22. I really feel for the organisers. It was a tough swim and good on them for giving it a go. The true strong ocean swimmers got a go at handling a big break and the not so confident (which included me) could hand in the timing chip and watch. I don't really care about the fee, if it goes to the surf clubs so be it. Better than making a 'donation' to Fairfax. See you next year in hopefully nicer conditions.

  23. To Tom, I was wondering how long it would take before anyone who criticised was called a "whinger", sorry, I forgot my capitals - I mean "WHINGER". It took longer than I expected.

  24. Hey Tom, explain to me why waves 7 to 10 were reserved for late entries if it was so well organised?

  25. Anonymous

    perhaps you are right - maybe Im being unfair labelling all criticism as whinging - some is justified of course - I just believe a large portion of what is being discussed above resulted from the conditions today - for me criticism is fair when based on something which is within a persons control and unfair when not eg todays ocean conditions

    other anonymous - dont know re the waves 7-10 - doesnt sound great tho - sure there is room for improvement for next year - maybe the tamarama/clovelly organisers can answer your question


  26. For those who like music with their swimming.....

  27. Any other oceanswim would have been cancelled in such conditions it was'nt today but still everyone is whinging.It was a true ocean swim & the organisers should be commended , they maintained safety for the swimmers & actually were ccntinuing in the same vain when the sharks caused concern. So i think the organisers should be thanked ,this swim is still in its infancy,so give them a break ,& keep in mind mother nature was testing them in every way possible .

  28. I was in wave 21 but with each wave being divided into 2 or 3 that means I was in at best wave 42. Had all the waves started the field would have been spread over almost 2 hours. You know things are taking too long when HG Nelson runs out of things to say!

  29. Dear Anonymous,
    I am quite aware that the organisers were telling the truth on Sunday, as it turned out the prediction was not quite right for Monday. I have had approximately 60 years to make judgements about the weather, so I can make my own decisions when I look at it, and look at it I did on both days and for hours and hours on Monday while I was waiting for my wave not to start.

  30. To be honest I was more concerned by the rudeness of the Kiosk.

    Swim was very hard getting in and out, sharks were probably following me with me leaving a fair bit of skin on the reef at Tamarama.

    I feel for the people who did not get a swim, see you all down at Mollymook to swim with the dolphins.

  31. A late season start out of Tamarama to Clovelly would envitably one day produce conditions as they were yesterday.

    Whilst the wave starts did seem to take a long time and the criteria for being placed in a given start wave didn't appear to be particularly 'scientific', the orgainsers should be commended for once again staging a great event.

    In thier defense their website stated from Saturday that the conditions were going to be challenging (and they were right). The announcer regularly re-iterated this point as well as suggesting that "if you don't feel confident, this is the day to sit out & watch". All potential entrants also got to weigh up the conditions before starting, but i can understand the frustrations of those that didn't get to start.

    Of my 40+ ocean swims, yesterday was without doubt the toughest i've done. I don't mind saying i was knackered just getting to the 1st buoy !!. Cheers to the water safety guy sitting in the middle of the 'drop zone' who shouted encouragement as I finally managed to get out. Water safety out on the course were also fantastic.

    'Out the back' for 2kms was fine, but entry into Clovelly was once again testing but by listening to water safety i managaged to slip in via the right channel

    Just had a look at the races times, i got a time for a placing in the high 200's, but there seemed to be many more swimmers behind me who completed the swim, but weren't given a time ?

    I'll be back next year, hopefully the conditions will be a bit nicer and not another day of reckoning for pool swimmers like me.

  32. Here's another anomoly - one of the girls who accompanied us has never done ocean swimming. She registered on-line and was not asked about her times. She was placed in wave 12 and got a start. Others who were placed in later waves and have experience with surf conditions and as Tom describes it "GIANT rips", did not get that chance.

    I don't think seeded waves work as there will never be enough information available to accurately sort out the waves in advance of each swim. I think those who wish to run ocean swimming in this manner should organise their own separate stream of racing - they could call it "professional ocean racing". Of course it would be more expensive because there won't be as many swimmers entering. They could organise certified time trials and there would need to be drug testing of course. Imagine how competitive it would become. What fun!

  33. Things weren't perfect, they need improving, make your connstructivie criticisms, the organisers will be better educated. Few, if any, events have the safety issues that ocean swimming has, so some caution is needed. Consider this; a fatality at an ocean swim that was allowed to go ahead when beaches are closed ( as was the case) - the organisers would cop a severe hammering. Or a shark is sighted multiple times, (as was the case), and the race is allowed to continue, someone gets bitten. Some of the criticism above is justified, however, ocean swims by their very nature are more likely than most events to suffer from cancellations,

    The race organisers would not want to cancel the race, they want to build it. The team that chooses to cancel a race include the Race Director & Co.., Council Lifeguards and Surf Life Savers. A safe and enjoyable event is the goal.

  34. I completed the swim last year and although I didn't get to start the race this year I think the organisers did a fantastic job and showed courage in going ahead with the swim despite the delays.

    It's only the second time the swim has been run so I think it's important for all oceanswimmers to give constructive comments and ongoing support. I do think the waves could have been run quicker and perhaps the waves could have been larger.

    I reckon the Tama is set to become an enduring and classic and will be back next year!

  35. I to agree with Tom’s comments. This must not be an easy event to organise and planning for the numbers of swimmers is always hard. Yes there can be some improvements as with most if not all oceanswims they tend to get better and the organisers learn from the experience. Please don’t forget the first TamaCloey was cancelled due to the conditions and they offered a discount to everyone who had paid and missed out on next year’s race (I believe I paid $15 to swim in 2009) I have paid online a number of times and due to conditions had the event cancelled and never had this sort of offer before. So yes I have travelled and found a race cancelled and had to get back in the car and drive home again and wasted half a day. Yes I have been on the beach waiting to swim only to have the race cancelled due to conditions or Blue Bottles but none of this stops me from me turning up the next weekend to swim again, why? Because I enjoy it and these things happen. People complain about the Cole Classic but still persist in doing this event why because the like it.
    The organises supplied buses to take us from Clovelly to Tamarama, the Clovelly club members looked after my car keys while I swam and a lot of volunteers gave up there time over Easter for us so we could enjoy this day. The feedback tends to always follow a trend I have noticed on the Blog. If the event has beautiful conditions and the sun is shining and the course is perfect most seem to be happy and post good comments. If the conditions are trying and the weather is average people start to complain more and usually about the organization of the event. I do feel sorry for those that didn’t get to swim and also for the delay on the beach but please ask yourself do you really think the people that organised this race were out to ruin your day or stuff you around… come on please let’s get a little bit of balance if you could do a better job please put your hand up! It’s not easy, after all the time and effort there seems to be little appreciation. I personally would like to thank the organises of the TamaCloey swim. It mustn’t be easy to organise these things especially with the conditions we have had over the past few years. Well done and look forward to next year.
    P.s. please read back what some of you write, you would think a Royal Commission into ocean swims was in order!
    Jordan Stockdale

  36. I think one of the aspects about ocean swims that have made them so popular is that they bolster people's ego. Unlike a pool event where the environment is controlled, the distance is exact and your time is indisputable, oceanswimmers can rationalise their performance with a few standard excuses ("I was too far off the buoys", "the swim was longer than they said", "I'm no good in those conditions"). Most ocean swimmers think they are better swimmers than they really are. Plus there's certain social standing in being able to say "I just swam 2.5 km around a certain headland", and Joe Public will congratulate you regardless of whether you do it in 30 minutes or 1 hour 30 minutes.
    The TamaCloey swim ranked swimmers based on time and I think a few ego's were bent out of shape by being placed in Wave 23 or whatever. The truth hurts and to be publicly branded a slow swimmer is a real challenge for some people to accept. To make matters worse, they're then told to wait around for a couple of hours whilst the swimmers who are better than them go first, and then are told "nope, you're not swimming today". For people with an already bruised ego, this is a threat to their perception of themselves and they feel as though they were treated like second class citizens. Hence the messages sent in thus far.
    I had done a swim at Nth Bondi one year and the event got cancelled halfway through because the early waves were getting stung by blue bottles. Pretty similar situation, except there was visual evidence of what the conditions were like (people getting carted away in ambulances for blue bottle stings). No complaints from the rest of us who didn't get to swim that day. As far as having to wait around, normally spending a day at the beach is pretty easy to take and not too many people would complain about "having to spend an 1 hour or 2 on Tamarama beach". You poor dears need to accept that the conditions weren't conducive to a smooth running of the event. These things happen, unfortunate but the organisers don't control the weather, the sharks or the open sea.

  37. Before the race I had a look at Cloey and Tama and decided that I wasn't in the mood. I did this swim last year and thought it was the best on the calendar. The organisers probably got some things wrong and hopefully next year will get them right. Perhaps the wave definition needs some fine tunining, that is, you can challenge your ranking. Given the tough nature of this swim it might be just as well that the last waves didn't go in. May have saved some difficulties but the other view is that by spreading weaker swimmers across the age waves, there are fewer rescues required at one time. Imagine if all the weaker swimmers were in the water at the same time as would be the case in the Tama to Cloey swim. Also conditions are usually more challenging later in the day as the wind gets up.

    By the way what was the unsportsmanlike behaviour?

  38. I am one of the lucky ones, I got to swim, I made it safely through the break, and when the helicopter started hovering and the kids on surf skis started yelling I still managed to hold my nerve and get to the finish knowing there was a shark nearby.
    For me it was a swim with something for everyone (who got to swim). Full credit to Tama/Cloey for having the courage and volunteers to hold what must be one of the most extreme of ocean swims. Most other clubs would not attempt something so adventurous given the reputation of Tama and Cloey.

    I for one loved it and I'm grateful each day that I have the ability and health to get out and participate in these events. I'll be back next year.

  39. I too would like to know what the unsportsmanlike behaviour was. I see it was Paul Lemmon who is officially 2nd. He trains with Don Boland??...who got penalised at South West Rocks for can-cutting. I think Paul just looks for ways to go one up on old Don. Anything you can do....

  40. I completed this swim as my first proper ocean swim (just did some lake swims and the Sydney harbour swim before). I actually enjoyed the conditions - big waves, swells - even the rip on the way into Clovelly made it a real challenge. The lifesavers along the route gave great encouragement and directions, even when the helicopter hovered right overhead. It sucks that the second half didn't get to go but I can understand that they can't send more people in knowing a shark is in the water close to the swimmers.
    I definitely recommend this swim to others - although agree that last minute entrants should be bundled at the end, or included in each wave dependent on speed.

  41. The post above from anonymous about egos is hilarious - full of assumptions. I don't know anyone in the later waves who takes umbrage at being considered a "slow swimmer". (Please note that slow swimmer does not equal "weak surf swimmer") It's just not that competitive out there, thank goodness. People are on their own "little journeys". That's why ocean swimming is such fun and full of diverse characters. Sorry, but I think you've missed the point.

  42. Just wanted to give some feedback on the swim.  Whilst it was called off due to shark sightings (which is no ones fault) the organisers keeps us on the beach for too long.  I was in wave 14 and it was well after 12pm before we even started to line up.  Wave 12 was the last to go and they had another 10-12 waves still on the beach.  The later waves would have been standing there till well after 1pm!!!  I know the waves were delayed because it was taking a long time to clear the surf break but they knew that and still didn't change venues.  For all the pre-race updates about alternative locations the organisers decided to waste everyones time.  Did they think we had all day to spend standing on the beach?!?  If they'd changed venues maybe everyone would have been able to swim and also have it finished in a reasonable time.

    PS Also I spotted the Waverly Council parking rangers taking photo's of vehicles dropping people off? They were in a vehicle taking photo's off anyone illegally parked to drop people off.  For an organisation that sponsored the event it seemed a low act.

  43. Rather than criticise the race and the organisers, perhaps some suggestions would be helpful from all of us swimmers rather than throwing down declarations of boycotting in 2011.....

    My suggestion would be that perhaps if the organisers intend to keep the tradition of a large number of staggered waves in order to keep wave numbers small in consideration of the beach size, then perhaps they could also stagger the registrations?

    I too was one of the unlucky ones who arrived early at the beach (9:30am) so I could get a parking spot, to then be placed into wave 19. I then proceeded to sit on a cold damp beach until after midday to then be told that the race was not proceeding due to shark sightings.

    I understand that the organisers could not do anything about the sharks and the eventual cancellation of the race, however, I do not like sitting in the cold wearing just a cossie, cap and goggles as my bag containing my warm clothes had already done the run to Clovelly. This was especially painful when the race was cancelled and myself and many others had to do a walk of shame(?) in our cossies and little else from Tama to Cloey. Not a pair of thongs in sight to make my journey a little more bearable.

    As I sat on the beach watching all the lucky people who managed to get a swim, I made note that the registrations and bags were all packed up and gone long before the majority of people were even close to entering the water.

    Just a suggestion….but other than that, yes, I will be back next year as I enjoyed my swim in 2009. Hopefully the organisers will take on board some polite suggestions from myself and fellow swimmers and look into some ways to make the swim more enjoyable for everyone not just the elite few at the front of the queue.

    P.S. I am a little curious about the wave sorting as I know people who were in waves before me that been consistently slower than me all season, and also people behind me who are consistently faster than me…does anyone know what happened there??

  44. Thought the spectacle of all the barefoot speedo runners heading to Clovelly was by far the most exciting part of the day. I had certainly lost interest in the swim after waiting for an hour and a half on the beach! If the organisers couldn't forsee there would be problems getting 40 waves started off the beach, they should probably be considering alternative careers

  45. The post about swimmers "on a journey" is full of contradictions. You could still go on your "journey" any day of the week? Why don't you....because you want water safety. Well water safety said it was too dangerous and now the "journey swimmers" are complaining. Who's missing the point, now?

  46. Not a whinger, not about ego, past swims demonstrate my ability in ocean swims, paid my $30 got slotted in wave 14, didn't start. Simple. For the record when it was cancelled about of a dozen of us swam to the white buoy just to prove it could be done and with ease. What a shame we weren't slotted in waves 7-10 where the late registered entrants were placed. My suggestion next year to the organisers is all late entries should be placed in waves 21 to waves 24.

  47. I agree we have to be constructive here otherwise swims such as this just won't happen anymore. We all know and acknowledge the many 'dangers' we face throwing our bodies into the deep blue, it's part and parcel of the whole caper. Swell, rips,shark things,crazy breaks are what make it so challenging and- yes, exciting.
    The stuff we can control llike the wave seeding does need a little look at i reckon. Like a few others who have commented, i also found myself seeded way back behind people i usually watch finish. Watching people thrash about out there while the tide came in and the day got longer is not so great. Maybe nominating times would help, that is if everyone is honest. See you next year.

  48. Jimmy Betts here from Mollymook - way too much tension there folks !! Sounds like everyone needs a nice swim in the country next weekend, Shellharbour on Saturday 10th and Mollymook on Sunday 11th. At Mollymook we've got the best cans and heaps of 'em ! Free sausage & onion sambo and drink for all competitors.

    p.s. Last Saturday Swim at Culburra was great South Coast hospitality - can't beat that !

  49. I won't comment on the organisation of the swim and the decision to call it off - it has been said already. Although I did not start (wave 15), I still had a fun day with my friends and do not regret making a donation to a surf lifesaving club.

    With all the criticism of the organisation of the swim, few people have said thanks to the water safety people out in the water doing their darndest to guide swimmers out to the first buoy and beyond. I was in Wave 15 and watched these selfless people holding their yellow "noodles" up in the air to guide swimmers through the best channel to the first buoy. It must have been horrible - such hard work, and in very difficult conditions. A couple of them were repeatedly hammered by the large waves. So thank you to ALL of the water safety people out there. You did a difficult job very very well. I hope you were all well looked after at the end of your tour of duty.

    Thank you to the lovely Mischa who picked 4 of us up at the Tama bus stop and transported us to Clovelly where our clothes were. There was a long queue and it seems only 1 or maybe 2 mini-buses to take us to Clovelly so your kindness was very much appreciated after a very long wait. You are a wonderful ambassador for your club.

    Good luck to the Tama club for next year's swim. I hope you will not let negative criticism deter you.

  50. The result times look a bit strange.

    I started in wave 11 (white caps) and as i walked up to the Cloey clubhouse, plenty of people with the same cap colour were still coming, yet they don't seem to have had a time recorded ?

    Is it 'confirmed' that only 302 swimmers finished or were given a time ?

  51. You could have belted out a few songs to help the time go by, Paul Stanley.

  52. No ego, not whinging, being an oldish female,I had to dispense with ego before a lot of you were born, I have a great year with ocean swims this year, just disappointed I did not get a chance to start.

    As I am a lawyer, a Royal Commission might not be a bad idea, lots of money for us guys and the chance to argue the hind leg of an iron pot!

  53. The Tama to Clovelly yesterday reinforced my view that the lure of the fundraising dollar is killing ocean swimming. Ocean swims as a money spinner for surf clubs have become so big that they are no longer a pleasure, they are an exercise in patience for the ripped off punters. The aim of the clubs seems to be to suck in as many payers as possible (non refundable of course). The seeding system was very inaccurate. I was stuck me in wave 14 instead of wave 5-6 where I should have been on my times (admittedly only one swim this year 40 minutes for the Stanwell Park swim but plenty of previous form.) Anyway times don't always reflect ability in a big surf. The 2 hour wait on the beach before cancelling just before wave 14 was due to go was the last straw. Organisers had said swimmers had to be registered by 10.30, They could easily have registered the later waves at 11.30. They allowed late entries on the day, keen to get the numbers up, even though the conditions were tough and allowed some these late entries into earlier waves ( mates rates?). They had too many swimmers in the race for the conditions. The conditions meant they had to take forever between waves. If it had gone on the last waves of swimmers would have been entering Clovelly on a falling tide. Luckily the guys spotted a shark.

    If they want to make this swim worth while.

    1) Limit entries by number and a reasonable maximum qualifying time from a previous ocean swim, even in good conditions it will be a demanding swim and the entry point at Tama on most days is going to be narrow and tough and the exit at Clovelly is tough and very dependent on tide times.

    2) If you are going to seed waves then at least get the seeding in the ball park. And don't put late entrants in early waves.

    3) If you are they going to take forever between waves then suggest later waves turn up later.

    Pity it would have been good to have a crack at this and I am envious of those that got to swim but I wouldn't waste my time, 5+ hours and money on this again unless the organisers sort these things out.

  54. wow emotive stuff ocean swimming. Now the best commentary on here is about constructive feedback - that way this swim will improve and hopefully meet all our expectations

    1) A review of the process from registration through to starting wave is needed for a swim which could encounter conditions like yesterday - I like the idea of staggered registration - that way people can arrive without having to spend too much time on the beach whilst ensuring the small starting waves can be retained for safety

    2) Seeding of the starting waves is good - it just needs to ensure its fair and consistant and that the information it is based on is up to date and accurate

    3)Late entries should go back of the pack - if you are not happy with that enter in advance

    Overall though I was happy with yesterday - in my mind the correct set of actions/decisions for the conditions were made - patience is something some of us ocean swimmers just need to learn - for the record I didnt get to swim...but I enjoyed the day and spectating none the less

    I will be back to support this swim - thanks all for your efforts and please do take on board the constructive feedback from this blog - the majority really do want to help you improve ad succeed

  55. Geez, seemed to touch a few nerves did i TOM. Thanks for mentioning my name but it was not my intent to make things personal when i sent the original post(Richard). But perhaps some good will come of all this and things can be improved for the organisers next time around.
    Many outstanding criticisms, not whinging.Im so glad for you Tom that you got to swim because more than half didnt.Yes this is an ocean swim and things do go wrong we all understand this, but so many things could also have been done better. Debate is for the better

  56. Interesting poll question up above re what organisers should do when the conditions are rough.

    Does anyone have any inside knowledge about the legal risks are handled by the clubs? I imagine a lot of the criticism of the Tama/Cloey swim were legal restrictions placed on them by either lawyers or the insurance company. I'd blame that before alleging incompetence without more info. I am amazed that they went ahead with it given some of the other swims that have been canceled over recent times.

    For me, I would prefer it if a club could come up with a system like they use generally between the flags - green, orange, red, closed. It's then up to us. Also, I don't see why, if the race is closed, why swimmers couldn't just do it anyway as a pack.

    Either way, our swims are going to be more regulated rather than less given the general trends in society. It would be great if someone could find a way to work out a sensible option for ocean swimming, which is inherently risky under any definition of the word. All it will take is 1 serious injury for a whole crack down on the swims.

    Lastly, I don't think it's fair to judge all complaints as being part of a hurt ego. Sitting around for 2 hours for a swim is a big ask without warning, esp. when the wave allocation methodology seemed a bit suspect.


  57. I wrote to the race directors explaining my displeasure about the wave system and got back this remarkable response.
    "I guess I should start with the wave system, which seems to be the
    source of a lot of bad blood. First and foremost it is a safety
    device. If we had age group waves like every other swim, in yesterdays
    conditions at Tamarama, then no swimmers would have left the beach,
    because the event would have had to have been canceled immediately." Chris Glover.
    So it it seems it was ok for the first waves to be expendable and not ok for the rest but well take your money any how. What an amazing admission that the race was started for a select view.Shame on the organisers

  58. I was one of the people from the Central Coast region who came down for the Tama2Cloey swim yesterday and my wave was one of the first ones to go. The swim was challenging, but I felt safe out there, with lots of lifesavers around.

    I started in the 6th wave of red caps and one of my fellow coasties (Paul Lemmon) was the first person from the 7th wave of light blue caps to pass me. I've heard that he went on to win the race on overall time. He is a champion, both in and out of the water and always gracious in both victory and defeat. I've known this true gentleman for many years and it would be totally out of character for him to display unsportsman like behaviour. Besides this, his training partner, Old Don Boland keeps him in line anyway !!!. Paul is a role model not only to myself but also the wider community up here on the coast.

    At the finish I heard there was a bit of an altercation between a couple of the younger swimmers in the first wave. I'm sure these younger guys will learn from the experience.

    It was great to get across the finishing line. Looking forward to challenging myself again in this swim next year.

  59. I agree with much of what has already been posted; too many small waves; too much sitting around waiting; the seeding of people-to-waves seemed to have many anomalies; clovelly would have been an "interesting" finish if everyone had been allowed to start . . .

    But I would like to add a big thank you to all the volunteers who stuck it out in the water for so long guiding hapless swimmers. If it was tough to get out; it must have been even harder to stay in the same spot !

  60. The race was started for a select few eh Anonymous? I don't read Chris Glover's response that way. Sending off 200 people at a time in age group categories would have been carnage. Even in calm conditions at Tamarama. The seeding system might need some finessing, but no one will agree 100% of the time.

    They didn't plan to stop the race half way through. Be fair people. I'd rather have a nice day on the beach without swimming than be eaten by a shark. A tough decision to stop it, but a correct one.

    As for the gap between the waves, I doubt they planned it that way. Last year it was much shorter. But given the conditions people took longer to get out the back and they had to wait longer to start the next waves. Didn't you see all the people being rescued and taken back to shore? Doubt they could have coped with faster waves on the day and still kept it safe.

    Of course these swims are fund-raisers for the clubs. And Tamarama is great value at $30, and if my money goes to help life saving at NSW's most dangerous patrolled beach then I'm absolutely delighted. It's not possible to organise these swims without a huge army of unpaid volunteers working hard on the day and for weeks before organising everything.

    A huge thanks to the organisers and the water safety people. Don't let the negativity get you down. Nothing's perfect, you're a young swim. Keep at it and I'm sure this will be a fab swim again next year. An ocean swimmer's ocean swim.

    Tom. (Not the same Tom as the Tom above but I largely agree with him).

  61. I'm hoping yesterday was not the start of a great divide in ocean swimming between the haves and the have-nots.

    Those 300 Spartans (the "haves") who braved treacherous surf and shark-infested seas to survive the demandng swim from Tama to Cloey. And quite rightfully they should be proud and boast of their achievement. It was a seriously tough ocean swim, it doesn't get any harder than that. Well done to the organisers for permitting the race to start. And then well done for looking out for swimmers safety and sticking to an unpopular decision to call it off, when the risk became unacceptable.
    A net result of Zero serious injuries on the day is not a bad result.

    And then the "have-nots", the 500 identified slow swimmers who didn't get a start on the day, and who got caught in perfect storm of pounding surf at both ends, the misfortune of being seeded worse than midfield, and finally a shark who thought it was safe to bob up for a look 2 hours after race start time.

    Feeling a little surprised at being seeded in the almost-last wave, then feeling really flat from burning off nervous energy staring out at the Tamarama surf for an hour and a half watching wave sets, I accepted my fate with resignation when the race was called off and we slow swimmers began the barefoot trudge back to Clovelly.

    I hope we can draw a line under the seeded waves experiment. Without accurate data and ratings, the process itself is flawed. And if all the seeded waves don't get an equal start for any reason, there will be disappointment and controversy. Perhaps if Ocean Swimming becomes an Olympic Sport with it's own national governing body and compulsory membership we can revisit seedings.

    So swimmers let us unite and swim together for the last few swims of the season. Mollymook next weekend is a good one. If you can't make Mollymook then Curl Curl on Saturday week, it was a ripper last year. See you in the water (not if a shark sees me first).

  62. Risk to the organisers may be both civil and potentially criminal litigation, and for good measure this may nto be covered by appropriate insurances if it was deemed that appropriate govenace was followed- i.e personal responsibility.
    For those of you that feel it is your choice, unfortunately, in the case of your death or serious accident the law,your relatives or your health insurer may not see it that way.
    Cmon guys and girls from what I saw they could be guilty of a starting prcoess that was less than optimal, ad some good suggestions supplied, but lets' not go overboard and criticise or question the role organisers play in terms of ensuring safety

  63. Well done to organisers who went ahead with the race in more challenging conditions. It is a pity it was eventually cancelled for half the entrants due to mother nature. It was however a nice change to use some surf awareness and surf skills that i have developed through years of surf and squad training. Many thanks to all the water safety who provided helpful directions for hours in choppy seas- You did well just to get out there on your boards. I was happy to be faced with larger waves rather than a flotilla of blue bottles. See you next year

  64. Ok, so I was one of the lucky lasts in wave 12, but I think that no matter how we were order; by apparent speed, by age or by hair colour, the ones left standing on the beach were going to feel peeved off no matter what - I know I have been there before. But after standing and watching the efforts of the earlier waves to get through the break, I don't think the organisers had any choice but to let small waves go off widely spaced. It would have been a recipe for disaster letting off large groups into that swell - I was never more frightened in my life than being part of the super-sized final wave in the Bondi-Bronte in 2006, when you were hammered by the sets but could not dive under the waves because there was a wall of people in front of you.

    As others have said, the poor guys running the swim did a great job and should be complimented on running a very professional and friendly swim. I have never gotten so may words of encouragement during a swim before. It must be a nerve racking job running an event like this ... great work guys!

  65. So for all those people who are complaining they didn't get to swim; do you remember Saxon Bird? He was the kid that was killed at the Surf Lifesaving Championships in conditions that "after-the-fact" most people said were too rough and they shouldn't have been competing in (and thus why they called off water based events).

    In his circumstances he was an elite athlete, competing in a group of only about 20 and within a more confined course (horse shoe shaped in and out from the same beach rather out into the ocean and 2K's down the coast) and yet there was still a tragedy. It makes no matter that in his case he was hit by a ski on the weekend that could just as well have been someone else’s accidental foot to the head or being dumped by the surf and not surfacing.

    SLSA are already going to feel the heat with a police inquiry and possibly Corners inquest there. Imagine what would happen if the same thing happened 3 weeks later to an event they had open to the general public?

    Do we not remember that talk last season about the restrictions that SLSA's insurers (Loyds I think it was) wanted to impose on ocean swims because of the liability risk? A single death in questionable conditions and Ocean Swimming for the general public would be all but over and very much more expensive per race because of the insurance premiums.

    For those of you heroes that question whether they had the right to call off the race then there was nothing stopping you from going around to Bronte and swimming out from there to wherever you might have wished. In that case you would have done that at your risk and not theirs.

  66. I was one of the volunteer lifesavers out doing water safety in the IRB's for this swim. I understand everyone's disappointment. I had friends who were swimming who missed out of the chance to start (they were wave 19). I completed the race last year myself and I loved it. But doing water safety this year gave me an entirely new perspective of the amount of effort and time that goes into organising these events.

    For those of you who feel bad they wasted 2 hours sitting on the beach without starting - that is unfortunate and it is a shame, but I also feel for all the other water safety volunteers who spent 3+ hours in the water in the cold helping to guide swimmers, and the other IRB crews who bounced around all day in the choppy water with the cold wind - my back was killing me by the end. Also spare a thought for the organisers. Much more than 2 hours went into planning this and it hasn't succeeded. I'm sure they must feel just as disappointed as those who didn't swim. Events like this AREN'T put on to rip money off people. I'm sure none of you would swim by yourself on other days between Tama and Clovelly, but by organising these events people get the chance.

    Obviously the decision to cancel the race wasn't taken lightly. If you could have heard the deliberations over the radios you would know that all options were considered and weighed. Unfortunately, events like this have a certain level of duty of care attached to them. Everyone will complain that it was cancelled and they wanted to swim. But had it not been cancelled and someone had been injured (either by a shark or rough conditions) or worse, killed, imagine the complaints then.

    Yes some things need to be refined for next years race. This is only the 3rd year this race has existed and only the 2nd time it has even started. Event organisers, water safety crews, and others involved are already taking steps to develop constructive ways to improve the swim next year. Sorry to those who didn't compete. Well done to those who did. I was cheering you on from the IRB. And I hope to see you all next year - don't give up yet. Stick with it, volunteer lifesaving clubs do wonderful things, not just in terms of keeping our beaches safe but by providing for the community. Events like this help them to stay functioning.

  67. What a great event!
    1. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones that got a start. I'd like to thank the organisers for allowing this race to start. Sure it was the hardest of the season so far. Does that say maybe we're sometimes too quick to cancel other events? I really like the mixed start. It makes a pleasant change and as a "boofhead" it's nice to see some different faces. I swam the whole open water stretch with an U19. That said I think the release of the starting waves could have been quicker. The surf was pulsing and I think the starters had enough experience to know when to release the next wave. I appreciate they did want to see each wave hit clear water. I also want to skirt the controversy of rescues if all the 'weak' swimmers were released in a final wave.
    2. This was an excellent event. I'm amazed how different the same event can be year on year. Last year Malabar (spooky with all those whelk things) to this year glorious. T2C last year, a leisurely 'stroll' over a marine national park to the hardest on the circuit.
    3. I guess wildlife is not under the organisers control. If it had been blue bottles...i'd have been kissing the organisers (to their disgust) for cancelling the race.
    4. On the beach...the strap of my goggles broke. I'd like to say a special thank you to lifesaver Anthony who canibalised his own goggles so I could swim "in comfort". (Paul, where was the view goggles stand?).

    Thank you organisers for a great day, thank you volunteers for making it happen (esp. Anthony), thank you fellow swimmers for your tollerance and thanks to the elements. Each one of these swims sure is different. I'm looking forward to next year!

  68. ANONYMOUS said:
    April 6 2.29pm "just disappointed I did not get a chance to start."
    2.47pm "for the record I didnt get to swim...but I enjoyed the day and spectating none the less"
    4.33pm "my wave was one of the first ones to go. The swim was challenging, but I felt safe out there, with lots of lifesavers around."

    What is going on here? Did ANONYMOUS swim or not?

  69. Please delete my previous post - I'm awake now.

  70. Some excellent comments here. Scott, Matt and the volunteer water safety person, really show the other perspective. My apologies to Paul Lemmon for querying whether he was the unsportsmanlike sportsman. The results had him as 2nd, so I just assumed. Yes, he is an amazing athlete and a very friendly bloke as well.

  71. "Great beach to race at. Bad sportsmanship at the wimming post. Good on the officialls.Bring on a code of conduct. Great racing, fantastic to watch."

    I want more details on this.

    Doris Heeks

  72. Tilbury Classic - Culburra Beach
    For a change of pace ... this swim last Saturday proceeded without incident and everyone went home happy ...

    Tilbury Classic 2k
    Retro-swimming with Nowra-Culburra SLSC
    I knew it would be good day yesterday when I arrived at the Nowra-Culburra surf club to see a pod of dolphins feeding in the surf not 20m from shore

    In fact I was so intent in watching the dolphins that I missed most of the pre-race briefing in the surf club
    Not a problem I thought, I'll just keep the cans on my left and follow the other swimmers
    I didn't hear that part about the "washing-machine" conditions around the headland or the fierce sweep in the surf at the start

    It was certainly an interesting swim in many ways
    The weather was overcast, then sunny, then raining, no sunny, then raining really hard
    There was a big southerly swell, but safe enough to start the race on the high tide
    The swim was scheduled to run from Tilbury Cove at Culburra Beach south around the headland to Warrain Beach, The organisers sensibly reversed the direction of the swim so that swimmers would avoid finishing through the messy surf conditions at Warrain Beach

    It was a small group of around 75 swimmers that lined up on the beach. Only one start wave, young and old stood together for the head count to make sure that what went in was the same as what came out
    We started 100m south of the first marker, the sweep and rip knocked me off my feet and helped push me to the turning buoy
    The big swell out the back made navigation a little difficult
    Encountered the washing-machine conditions on a shallow reef off the headland
    Spotted lots of fishes, I swam over 3 little rays
    Actually that was probably 1 little ray I swam over 3 times, at one stage the current was pushing me almost backwards as I swam forwards, until a surge pushed me clear of the bommie
    The last couple hundred metres into Tilbury Cove was smooth, there was even a little wave in the cove that I could ride onto the beach
    As is my custom with these away-from-home swims, I lined up with some elite swimmers in the 400m "dash for cash" and surprisingly didn't finish last

    I really enjoyed this swim and the morning at Culburra
    It had a real "old school" feel about it
    A nice change from the busy ocean swims in Sydney
    The organisers were friendly but left nothing to chance on water safety

  73. Top marks and very well said indeed to the anomymous volunteer doing water safety from the IRB - your comments are spot on and efforts really appreciated.

    ALL involved in water safety did a tremendous job on Monday in very difficult and trying conditions and thier support and encouragement should be rightly acknowledged. The water safety crew in the break at Tamarama holding up yellow towing buoys looked like they were pummelled for 2 hours straight!

  74. I was just wondering what all you peeps were doing thrashing about in my backyard. Me and me mates thought we'd have a look-see. Didn't realise that it would cause such a commotion. Wouldn't want to take a bite out of any of yoose lot anyway - you all have too much bad blood. We were hoping for a snack on some of the fatter and slower ones at the back though (their flesh is more relaxed - like eating Wagu, by way of maing a comparison), but it seems surf patrol were onto us. Damn. Foiled again. Ah well, s'pose there's always next year...

  75. Unfortunately many swimmers underestimate the potential for things to go wrong in conditions such as last Monday. My boy who is a reasonably competent swimmer when his mind is on the job and there is only a very short run involved, rang me on Sunday night as he was concerned about the 'difficult' swim conditions (and just quietly his own fitness), so we decided he should go to the easter show instead. His biggest disappointment was that there was no Oceanswims showbag....maybe we can look at this for mext year.
    Delores O'Brien

  76. Anyone heard what kind of shark stopped the race yet?

  77. For all of you people who are whingeing (yes whingeing) about not being able to swim because the surf club called it off because of the conditions you are wrong.

    Whilst awaiting my heat to be called, I was in a prime position to be able to hear the conversation between the lifeguards (in the tower and the boats/surf craft) over the walkie talkies about the shark sightings and I can assure you all that the cancellation of the race was due to the sharks NOT the conditions.

    The lifeguards tried valiantly to drive the sharks back out to sea but unfortunately this didn’t work in this instance, so the boys in blue (not the clubbies) recommended that the race be postponed and then eventually cancelled. Advice that the organisers took. This was NOT due to the surf conditions. The delay between starting the waves was due to surf conditions but not the overall cancellation of the race.

    So, to all you people out there who are crying that you didn’t get to swim and you know you could have made it through the break, I tip my hat to you as I am sure you could – as I could have too. But would you have been able to outswim a shark if it took a liking to your leg? I am not sure I could…

    Food for thought?

    Give the club some credit for doing the right thing and lay off the sledging.

  78. Oh, dear, what an awful fuss. In the fine print on the Tama Cloey website was a statement which said they would ask competitors not to swim if they did not think they were capable on finishing. Gone are the days of personal responsibility, when you could decide what you wanted to do without fear of contraving some rule or regulation. When no one told you (except perhaps your mother)you should not do this or that because it was dangerous, bad for your health, etc etc etc. Gone are the days when you could run an event without fear of litigation (real or imagined) hanging over you.
    Let's hope ocean swimming never descends to the level of imposing time restrictions, or upper age limits on events. I, for one, want to make my own decisions, not have someone else who thinks he knows better than I do making them for me.

  79. Categorising criticism of the swim's organisation as "sledging" and "whinging" and as a result of "hurt egos" is a way of trying to bully people into silence or belittle their input. The water safety crew were brilliant - they always are. Let the participants have their say about the way the swim was set up and the impact it had on them. If nothing were said, then there would not be improvements and it would be left to the club to wonder why their swim was not growing in popularity. I'm sure the club organisers are big enough to value this feedback - good and bad. Who knows? Maybe this will become one of the best swims on the calendar, thanks to modifications brought about by some of the points raised in this blog.

  80. Let's crack 100 blogs for os.c! Great banter and great to see some many people visit the site...I have stated my views, some not complimentary, however I did forget to compliment the guys who were in the surf at Tama in the break zone who held their rescue belts in the air to guide people to the first rounding white buoy. You are legends and please don't take criticism on the event on your shoulders. I am surprised you stayed in the water that long to let us dopes swim the 2.5km event (not that I got off the beach). Again thanks.

  81. All

    I've have just noticed the TamaCloey swim organisers have posted on their swim website a very comprehensive response to a number of questions raised here by us swimmers

    Its good to see they are listening to the constructive points from us and have taken the time to respond

    Many other swims have never done this - good on them

  82. Tama to Clovelly

    I was in Wave 25(and unlike others I am not insulted by this placing, someone has to come last) which would have been a good 2 hour wait to start if the race hadn't been called off. I had alot of time to contemplate whether I would make it out thru the swell, which was getting bigger as time passed, and had decided I probably wouldn't when the race was called off. I also had plenty of time to watch the awesome effort being put in by the life savers to guide people out and help people in when they couldn't get out. All the criticism will undoubtedly result in improvements next year but put yourself in the organisers position who are responsible for our safety, they had to deal with the conditions on the day as best they could. Having said that when it was clear the conditions were not great it would have been sensible to not take late entries on the day. When all is said and done it was a memorable day even if you didn't get to swim.

  83. That was a good call, Delores.
    Tamarama Beach on Monday was no place for an unfit young lad.
    Can I suggest you get your boy's head out of those easter showbags and back into the pool this week.
    Competition is fierce at the front of the pack these days. It's on for young and old. What with the old folks cutting buoys and the youngsters jostling on the run home.
    Your boy will have to go pretty hard this month to to pick up a medal.

  84. Thank you for your comments and feedback, rather than inundating this blog with a long response we have posted it on our website, see link below.

  85. As a Tama club member and one of the water safety volunteers on Monday, (and a regular swimmer at Tama with the club's TOSS swim squad over the past few years), it was very frustrating for everyone involved in the swim that we could not get everyone who had come down to support our clubs the opportunity to complete the swim on Monday. Tama is a fantastic beach where conditions can change from one day being able to walk to Bronte without getting your head wet, to the conditions that we saw on Monday. The conditions were a true test for ocean swimmers and I don't think we don't see enough swims run in conditions like that.

    Tama and Clovelly are small clubs so putting on a swim such as this is a massive effort, and I know that nearly every member at Tama was in some way either helping to organise in the weeks and months before or on the actual day. As well, a majority of the people involved from Tama are regular ocean swimmers so we do know what its like when conditions/wildlife do not go as planned at a swim.

    The swim is as much put on by the clubs to help raise funds for new equipment etc, as it is to give our fellow ocean swimmers the opportunity to swim and enjoy our little beach in safe conditions and to complete a swim that not many people would be brave enough to do by themselves. Safety is the paramount concern of the organisers and it is the one area that Tama/Clovelly, and other swim organisers, will never compromise on. For those swimmers who have not been involved in water safety for a swim, I kindly suggest you volunteer at a swim and see the amount of time and effort that goes into planning before the day and the professionalism, concern and stress on the day that is put in by the volunteers to make sure that swimmer are safe during the race and able to enjoy the experience.

    We want to make the swim as enjoyable for all swimmers as possible so we appreciate the constructive feedback that has been put on this blog so we can improve the swim for next year. Hope to see you all back next year for a bigger and better swim.

  86. I for one was glad the last wave didn't go ahead.
    I was waiting nervously for my daughter Michelle to head out and almost blew a whole in my tina when I heard the shark reports come in. Unfortunately for Michelle she didn't get to wear her bright blue swim suit again. well done to all those gentle young Tama lads for protecting us from those terrible sharks.

    Doris Heeks

  87. Would the 5 people who voted in the poll to either 'let the stronger swimmers go' or 'cancel only for weaker', please let me know how lifesavers would identify stronger or weaker surf swimmers in the lead up to a challenging swim? I know greyhounds who can't handle the surf and medium to slow swimmers who have lots of ocean swimming experience.

  88. Great response from Tama2Cloey swim committee.You have more than obviously listened and taken on board the many opinions of swimmers and spectators who have added to this delicious debate. Just one thing I'd like to ask....did the swimmers themselves nominate their swim time/wave start or was each swimmer placed in the wave by the organisers? Lorne is a huge swim as you know and when a swimmer enters, they nominate an expected swim time for the distance and the organisers use this to place you in a suitable wave within your age group.Yes, it relies on you being honest about your times, but seems effective.I've not been placed in a wave yet that I was unsuited to. Maybe this would be a good compromise?
    Glad to see some swimmers used their common sense and withdrew before the event. You may pay to enter and be watched over by the vigilant vollies who work so hard at Lifesaving clubs to ensure your safety but at the end of the day, you know your own abilities. This debate has more than sufficiently wet my appetite.....I'm going to have to add this 'controversial'race to my racing schedule next year. Keep on talking about it with your fellow swimmers, I'm learning alot by reading your responses. Take care out there Thrill Seekers, Nicole Chester (AquaGirl72)

  89. My son (and wife) were disappointed they didnt get to see me get smashed by the swell at the start. My two daughters were relieved I didnt get to start. Im some were in the middle but I think Id like to give it a shot next year - I'll just leave the family at home.The course looked awesome as we walked back to Cloe.It looks like a real ocean swim challenge. Im uping the training - bring it on. Pat

  90. Hi Sharkie,

    I understand you guys like to be stroked and hugged, saw it on the news, so it must be right! Next year don't come after us with evil intent and don't snack on the ones at the back, the front ones are mostly younger and tastier, remember that. Just hang around Shark Point and wait for me. I will give you a big cuddle just like your mother would.

  91. Jean, With your shark-hugging thoughts ...
    Are you one of the Greenpeace sponsors people who was on the beach collecting signatures on Monday. I signed up and got a tuna tattoo. I think it's permanent, 3 days later it still won't wash off.
    We should have sent out that bloke walking around in the tuna costume. He would have made good bait.

  92. "I know greyhounds who can't handle the surf and medium to slow swimmers who have lots of ocean swimming experience."

    Being an excellent swimmer has never been a pre-requisite for being an idiot in the surf. Generally the opposite applies.
    I'd back a great swimmer who lives in Dubbo to survive rough conditions over a weak swimmer who lives at Bondi and swims across the beach every day.

    This formula for waves is perfect. It makes sense to stop the race when the weaker waves appear to be struggling.

  93. Haven't you been TRAINING Richard? tsk tsk. A good long dose of chlorine should get that tatt off.

  94. I am now buying Greenseas Tuna.

    Thanks Tama Cloey team you did a great job. I feel sorry for the people who missed the swim and had to permabulate along the cliff.

    Bud Meringue

  95. Richard,

    Must tell I am not involved with Greenpeace. Sharkie and I are just good friends.

    Have you tried methylated spirit ot turps on the stencil?

  96. Re the comment about the strong pool swimmer in rough conditions over the weaker ocean swimmer. Totally agree with you. Backs up the point made that the regular, but slow ocean swimmer, often kid themselves about their ability. They usually cite some anecdotal evidence of a reasonable pool swimmer they beat in the ocean ONCE, or a rough sea they managed to swim in. Then they permanently live in this fairy land where they, and maybe a few others, have these special powers in the surf that compensate for a lack of swimming ability. It's delusional and dangerous.

  97. Ha ha Richard I'm with you on that one! My biggest regret of the day was getting the tuna sticker on my arm... it just won't come off!!

  98. "This formula for waves is perfect. It makes sense to stop the race when the weaker waves appear to be struggling". who is the elitist punce who wrote this.
    Ocean swims are for all sorts not for blow hards like yourself.
    remember the story of the tortoise and the hair.
    If you think your so good go to the olympics and leave ocean swims to age groups with their varying ablities to battle in the line up and find our pace the field. Love it

  99. I was wave 19 for Tama-Cloey, so didn't get to swim. Very disappointing as we'd waited so frigging long and were beyond nervous into hungry... As I finished the walk of shame to Clovelly I saw a swimmer coming in who had 23 at the beginning of his number texta-ed on his arm - that means he was supposed to be wave 23. He was being applauded for finishing, and so on (he had a paddler escorting him).
    How did someone with a 23 wave number do the swim?
    It was very disappointing to miss out I'd trained for a long time - yes, I'm not fast but my endurance is good... can only wish I'd been in an earlier wave, and am really annoyed to hear that early waves were reserved for late entries. Not at all in the spirit of the event!

  100. T2C was the most challenging swim i have ever done. This swim had everything - rips, reefs, rough surf, big breaks,sharks and a breastroke kick to the sternum on the way to the finish. I really liked the small wave starts.(and was quite flattered with my wave placing)Thank you to the swimmer who encouraged me to keep going when i was struggling to get through the break and about to turn back to shore.

  101. Sadly, I feel that I must now put my head down and go for it, instead of ambling along taking in the surrounds as I usually do, lest my slower times be interpreted as incompetence in the surf. I'll have to start treating it like a race instead of a swim. It's a pity really, I'd rather just swim and leave the sprinting to the pool.
    Just a question for fellow annonymous who talks about the slow ocean swimmers (plural), boasting of one conquest who live in fairy land ... Poor you. I've never met delusional characters such as you describe in ocean swimming. The ones I've met, fast and slow, have all been good sports with a sense of humour and perspective. This bonhomie is a big part of what attracted me to ocean swimming in the first place.

  102. It doesnt get any slower than Wave 25. But why do some people imply this means we tortoises couldnt have handled it?
    With 20 years of ocean swimming experience,I was really looking forward to it and still getting over the disappointment of missing out.

    Although I was amazed by a woman I met on the beach who asked for some tips about making it through the break because she had only ever swam in lakes.
    Cant blame the organisers who did a great job in very difficult conditions.
    Heading to Mollymook next weekend to satisfy the inner seal

  103. Ok, we have reached 100 posts now, can we talk about Pacific Palms. I mean, if it's ok with you guys, you guys with all that spare time on your hands.

  104. I can't wait for next year's T2C. This one was the most fun I've had in speedos, with the possible exception of the 06 Bondi/Bronte, and also another incident i can't mention.

    Based on the post from the organisers, I think that the feedback will be taken on board.

    My parting thoughts - I'd hate to see the swims become seeded. The first elite wave that is common is great to watch, but after that I think it goes against the spirit that is so unique to ocean swimming. Perhaps the T2C swim needs to be different for safety, but most don't.

    And also a thank you to the volunteers, particularly those guys holding up the yellow thingies in the break at Tama. They had it worse than anyone.

    Would like to know the shark type.

  105. Conduct unbecoming of an ocean swimmer..April 8, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    For those who wanted more details on the unsportsman like conduct at the finish line.

    My wife and kids were waiting patiently for me on the sand while I spent the best part of 10 minutes trying to find safe passage across the reef that guards the entrance to Clovelly. According to the missus.....

    Two swimmers emerged from the water together (young fella's she says) neck and neck for the 20m sprint up the sand. The finish was always going to be tight but one fella got his nose in front within a couple of strides on the winning post. The other fella, destined to cross second, reached out and grabbed the fist fella by the shoulder and pulled him backwards - in doing so propelled himself across the line first.

    Good decision by the race referee to reverse their placings, but I would have disquailfied him (the other fella) outright.

    Note this involved the two swimmers from Wave 1 battling for line honours and did not involve the overall winner (Paul Lemmon) from wave 7.

  106. Not really anonymous.

    Well, nearly all is said and done on this one, but here's my 2 cents worth. While I never got to swim, I too enjoyed the spectating from the beach, watching others struggle out through the break, wondering if I could manage it when my turn came. But as the slowest member of a registered team member, I think that my fellow team members were perhaps unfairly held back from starting in an earlier wave, more suited to their times (we were slotted into one of the last ones), and would hope that next year this can be rectified.

    Congratulations to those that made it to the end, commiserations to those left standing on the beach, waiting (for Godot it seemed) and thank you to everyone who volunteered and put the race on, especially the tireless water safety crew who I could only really see at the start, but who were doing an excellent job.

    And please next year don't let the commentators mention the sharkies while we are waiting on the beach - my nerves were bad enough! From A swimmer who hopes to have another whirl at it next year.

  107. Well, this blog thread has certainly exposed the presence of a highly unpleasant species in the ocean swimming scene - the dick-headed wanker. Not content with having a terrific swim while others miss out, they feel the need to rub it in afterwards.

    I for one had to stand on the beach watching wave after wave of these idiots and pool swimmers make a complete meal of a surf break that I and probably many others could have handled easily. The result? The T2C organisers said it already…”The longer than planned gaps between waves were … because … we had to ensure the previous group safely negotiated the break before sending the next.”

    What a pity that the groups were not ranked according to different criteria. Such as, “do you have the ability to dive under a wave, or not?”.

  108. Ohh, that's your special surf skill...diving UNDER the waves. Thanks for sharing that. And I thought you surf-specialists didn't have skills beyond drafting off people. Yeah, I should probably give up the lap swimming and start practising diving over wait, under waves wasn't it. Mmmm, this is gonna take a while.

  109. This query about next year's swim is addressed to reps from Tamarama or Clovelly Surf Club.

    Taking into consideration the following:
    1) the seeded wave system will continue
    2) Tamarama is a volatile beach (to quote your comment). I gather this means it is unpredictable and often rough.
    3) The ability of swimmers to handle the surf will be judged by the organisers on how quickly they have swum in previous ocean swims.
    Only the quickest swimmers will be permitted to partake if conditions are not ideal on the day.

    I am a medium to slow swimmer and I've done lots of ocean swims so my stats are in the system.

    If you were me, would you enter?

  110. Dear Anonymous Slow Swimmer

    If I were you I would just enter. The scenairo you paint looks as if it might be actionable under anti discreminable ligislation!!!

  111. Gee thanks Lawyer, consider yourself hired...

  112. I asked a QC about the issue of liability of the surf club had they continued to allow swimmers to enter the water when the organisers knew that there was a shark in the water. He said that they would be leaving the club wide open to negligence suits had anyone been attacked by the shark. He also added that lawyers would have been safe from the shark/s - a matter of professional courtesy!

  113. I thought the organisers did a great job. The water safety was amazing. I knew which way to head out thru the break, cos there was someone there holding up a marker. There were people on boards and skis all the way along the cliffs, and then more people to guide us in thru clovelly break. Well done to both clubs!! It felt like safety was the first priority . . and so it should be in a swim that steps up to the challenge, and heads out along these cliffs. Keep up the good work.

    What I liked about the swim? Firstly, a challenging 'oh my god' start. Second, the open water and the space out past bronte and along the cliffs. It really was an odyssey, almost a wilderness experience out there, often alone . . contrast that with being kicked in the head, and swam over around buoys in other races (exciting but different!!). And finally, a tricky and technical finish.

  114. I was one of the lucky ones to swim T2C but have missed out on swimming other OS's for a number of reasons. Apart from the disappointment that comes from not swimming, no one likes to blow their money, so I offer this suggestion to the organisers for swimmers who don't get to participate. How about issuing a tax receipt for their entry fee which becomes an outright donation to the club when nothing is actually received for their payment. That might take the sting out missing out come tax time.

  115. Very good thinking Jane. Most could be done on computer and receipts emailed.

    I was in Jane's wave and gave up, twice, for the first time in over a decade. The key was that the waves did need to be 4 minutes apart to let the lifesavers be ready for the next. 13 x 4 = 52 minutes.

  116. I swam 38mins in the 2009 race. Thanks to the unique seeding process was in the 20th wave for 2010.

    Q1. Was I disappointed I didn't get to swim in 2010? - A1. YES.
    Q2. Do I think the volunteers and organisers should be congratulated? - A2. YES
    Q3. Do I think I can improve my swimming before next years race? - A3. Hopefully - yes
    Q4. Do I think the organisation / logistics of this race will improve before next years race - A4. Most definitely?
    Q5. Will I enter this race again? - A5. Most definitely as I know that like my swimming another 12 months will provide me and the organisers more opportunity to review the lessons learned from 2010.
    Q6. Am I concerned with the potential for ocean swimming to become a battle ground for elitism. A6. Yes - Ocean Swimming is one of the few sports where a pair of swimmers, goggles and some natural / un-natural ability combined with a healthy dose of reality gives us all the opportunity to get across the line. Ocean Swimming is not a sport of "have's" and "have not's", "faster waves" and "slower waves" or "ego's" and "no egos" - rather it's a sport based on participation.

    The next 12 months will be a time of enlightenment for organisers and swimmmers alike. My sense is that 2011 will bring 1000+ swimmers to the shores or Tamarama for what could potentially be one of the best swims in Ocean Swimming's history.

    I hope to see everyone on the beach for the T2C in 2011 - in the meantime I will see you in the water for the Coogee to Bondi 5km swim on the 25th April.

    Thanks all,

  117. Thanks for this blog. I was looking for some opinions and debate on this matter.

    I was on the 19th wave. Didn´t swim. I beleive as some others that the SHARK excuse was used just to politely tell us we wouldn´t be able to finish the swim in these rough conditions...

    Mishandled: Why did organizers post a warning one night before about rough conditions and when I got to the registration desk, I ask organizers and lifeguards what were their views about the conditions.. Same reply from everybody: "Perfect conditions mate" No worries.. haha.. C´mmon...
    I am very dessapointed because as everybody else we felt a decission was made for us. It is true probably some wouldn´t be able to finish, and it is a risk we take.. At least that is what the typing of "I agree" is all about when you pay your 30 AUD entry fee.

  118. After all the winging it was refreshing to hear Chris thank the organisers for getting his wave seeding correct. At least he has shown some maturity.

    Joanne B

  119. I am a crazy person that travels down from Brisbane to compete/take-part in the different ocean swims that take place during the season. after standing on the beach, for what felt like and eternity, and getting psyched to tackle my first Tama2Cloey i have to say i was quite disappointed that i didn't get a swim.

    but i do have to say that i will be back next year to have another go. from anyone that i have spoken to and reading all the blob, to me, this has the potential to be one of the best swims on the calendar. and we all have to bare in mind that this is only the 3rd year that it has been run, and it is organised by volunteers.

    i was seeded in wave 14, can't complain about that, i thought given my current times that was a fair call. but i do ask why late-entries were in early waves. if you can't make up your mind you should really wait.

    as someone that is not local i did find the warning on the website the night before a little confronting, but when i arrived at the beach to find the condition not as bad as i though, i was relieved. i'm always happy to prepare for the worst and be happy when it's not. i did love getting the pre-registration text i thought that was a brilliant idea, and maybe the estimated wave start time so that can allow people register closer to their start.

    i have to say my least favourite thing was while running/walking around to Clovelly, what ever the evil coating on the grill around in front of the cemetery the city council could really make that more barefoot friendly :P~

    to all the people that have spent hundreds of hours in the organisation of the event, the set-up and pack-up crews, water safety, announcers, photographers, and anyone i've forgotten, this swim has a great potential and please don't let all the negatives effect the amazing job that you have all done. i look forward to doing this event next year and for many years to come. unpredictability is one of the things that makes ocean swimming exciting, and i think Tama2Cloey is definitely and exciting swim. Bring on 2011!


  120. Crikey, Cat, coming down from Brissy to swim, that's amazing. And you're dead right. The worst thing about the whole day was not the walk of shame in the budgies back to Clovelly, it was that frigging evil coating on the boardwalk. My feet are still in recovery.

  121. Call me a sceptic but it looked to me (and those around me on the beach) that the organizers (if they can be called that) were looking for an excuse to cancel the event, and very CONVENIENTLY a shark raised its head.
    After paying for 3 events here and only being allowed to swim once, next year I plan to leave the beach and head into the surf in my own time on race day with no cap and no timer and NO COST !


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