Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lorne, Sorrento, North Bondi, Cottesloe, Gerringong...

Lorne 154
Lorne was a big day, as we saw on the telly, although we were mightily disappointed to see Victorian Premier, Ted "Death to the Wettie" Baillieu, sporting a wettie for the second year in a row. Even worse, it was on the telly! For all the world to see! Is there no shame?
So we sms-ed Ted seeking his explanation, and we tweeted. And within minutes, the Premier of Victoria was on the phone seeking to explain himself. He was with his daughter, Eleanor, driving out of Lorne, through those windy (as in wind around) hills along the Great Ocean Rd, and the signal cut in and out. But Ted reckoned he had to wear the wettie, because he was racing Eleanor, in a wettie, and pride was at stake. The way the Pier to Pub is organised, it probably was that Ted and Eleanor were swimming at vastly different times, so one would have no idea how the other was going and what time they had to beat. We'll cop it this year, Ted, just like we copped the team excuse last year. But it won't wash forever. Your membership of the Death to the Wettie Institute, and your credibility, is at stake here.
That said, it's noice to have an ocean swimmer as premier. Victoria has a good record at that in recent years. Steve Bracks is a swimmer, albeit a regular wettie wearer, as we understand. Indeed, a good proporation of Bracks's cabinet are/were swimmers. Why can't the NSW people match this?
Aquagirl was at Lorne, as any of you who follow her tweets will be well aware. Her tail along the 3 1/2 hour trek in a 25-seater bus from Frankston, the long way around through Melbourne, and back again, was a saga of missed loo stops and revolt. All very messy, she said on her way home. And there were 4,000 others there, too. Lorne is the largest individual ocean event in Stra'a, and quite possibly the world. The Cole Classic may claim more overall, but theirs is split between two events.
We're off to North Bondi tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
Over in the West, Brett Martin tweeted about having his goggles kicked off by a breaststroker on the first booee in the Cottesloe Mile. It was a very blurry swim after that, said Brett.
But tell us about your swims this weekend... all the good bits, and the bad bits. All the contributions to culcha, all the mishaps, the gaffes, the heroics -- in the water and in the pub -- all the inside stories...


  1. What a perfect illustration of the arms race that develops as soon as one competitor dons their floaties to capitalize on lax regulations.

    The avalanche started, it takes real character to resist the temptation to do the same - especially when there's the very real risk that your daughter (of all people, *cough*) might beat you with her cheat suit.

    No such qualms in the recently sub-tropical climes of Sydney, despite the couple of million blueys floating round on the northern beaches today. Hopefully the stingers are too busy to come and bother the yuppies at Bondi; with that and a decent swell looks to be a rather fun upcoming Sunday morning outing.

  2. Hello fellow 'ocean swimmers', it is my first swim tomorrow at Bondi Beach. I am concerned about the recommended course of action in the event that I am about to drown. Shall I raise my left or right hand? And if I am about to be eaten by a shark - if I wave both hands, will anyone rescue me? Thank you in advance for any advice you are able to donate!

  3. Just back from Bondi and what a great swim. Beautiful conditions and not a blue bottle in sight despite the warnings and announcements.

    The one black spot on my otherwise perfect day however was a parking ticket. Unfortunately I find it extremely difficult to put money in a meter when I am face down in the ocean about 100m off shore. Do the heartless Waverley Council rangers not know this. So, I have come up with an idea to solve this problem.

    At the start of the season, ocean swimmers who are regular competitors (like myself and who find parking meters to be most inconvenient) purchase an ocean swims parking pass for a nominated fee, lets say $100 for a 12 month period. When you work out how much you put in the meters it would probably work in your favour.

    I would suggest that the fee/proceeds of this pass then be divided amongst either the councils who enforce parking on said race days or the SLSC who would liaise with the councils on behalf of the race competitors - after of course, an admin fee is taken for organisation of such parking passes.

    Said pass/sticker can then be displayed in the windscreen of the ocean swimmer's car to show the council nazi that this is a person who is contributing to their little community by swimming in an ocean swim race on one of their magnificent beaches.

    Councils of course would be notified prior to race days of the upcoming races so that the pass priveleges could not be abused by people parking for free on non-race days.

    If anyone who has it in their power to produce such a thing is reading....please take my suggestion on board.

    Thanks to North Bondi SLSC for a great swim and thank you to the ocean swim gods for great weather.

  4. A great day at Lorne yesterday for the Pier to Pub.
    Perfect conditions, (relatively) warm water, and a very well organised swim. A particular thanks to the hundreds of young volunteers who forego a swim in order to act as marshals, water safety etc.
    However one nasty piece of greed marred the afternoon; the Lorne pub had decided to charge $10 a head entrance fee to the courtyard where the swimmers gather for a beer after the race. It was done in a sneaky way; no signage outside and a cash register halfway up the entrance. Many people say “meet at the pub after the race” just before plunging into the water, so if you wanted to find your friends there was no choice but to pay the money. With beers at $8.00 each you would have not thought that this was necessary.
    Next year: a case of beer at the house we rent for the week-end.

    David Burden

  5. Great day at Bondi, before getting there I was sure it was going to be called off due to bluebottles. Thanks to the organisers for pushing ahead and some lateral thinking with the course layout.

    For Anonymous' parking problems, there is a simpler solution - I've never had a problem finding a park further up the hill at Bondi in the 6 or so swims I've done there. You may have to walk a couple of hundred metres, but think of it as a variation on the three points challenge.

    And while I think of it, it occurred to me this morning that it's generally the main event that gets called off, especially in the case that people struggle in the earlier event due to marginal conditions.

    It'd be worth thinking about whether the order of little and big swims might be reversed, for a couple of reasons:

    * Most of the time I never do the double at swims because I don't want to tire myself out for the larger swim. However I'd love a 1km cool-down swim, and would be much more inclined to participate in both swims (more $ for the club?) if the shorter event was second.

    * Generally speaking, swimmers in the long event are typically more capable. So it might make sense to let the more experienced/stronger competitors complete their event, rather than have all the novices struggle then consequently call off the main event.

  6. Some of the photos from Bondi today are pretty funny (I hope the first gentleman doesn't take offence!):

    The mer-man:

    Synchronised goggling:

  7. I hope I speak for those who braved the foul weather on the NSW south coast yesterday to do the Captain Christie Ocean Classic Surf Swim when I commend the Gerringong Surf Life Saving Club for a stellar job.

    The organisers made the tough decision to move the course to Seven Mile Beach at Gerroa after several of their own members struggled in the rough conditions at Werri Beach (where the swim traditionally ends) earlier that morning.

    The new course was in much calmer waters. It was an excellent swim with a long wade out over a sandbar at the start. My swimming mate caught a wave in at the end, so it wasn't totally flat. I think the distance was shorter than the advertised 1.8 km.

    Thanks to all the Gerringong clubbies. There's a fantastic atmosphere around this event and I recommend it highly. We didn't stay afterwards (had to get back to Sydney before the rest of the world headed back). Had we stayed, we would've received a mini bottle of whisky (you'll have to read about the legend of Captain Christie to understand why) and the chance to win a lucky-door prize.

    Five stars.

  8. Captain Christie swim at Gerringong shifted to the south facing Gerroa due to a couple of metres of tricky swell rolling in at Werri Beach. Great local swim run well by the Gerringong surf club. Small crowd - everyone started at once. Easy rolling surf at the start and 2ft waves on the way home. Seemed more like 1.5km than the 1.8 proposed from Boat Harbour to Gerringong. Some areas of the Shoalhaven - South Coast had 4 times their average January rainfall in one day yesterday - but not Gerroa. I'll be back next year to try the original course. Dave

  9. Lovely, well organised swim at North Bondi yesterday. Hopefully the Big Swim and Cole Classic take note of Newport and North Bondi's fantastic events of the last couple of weeks.

    Was slightly disappointed at the length of the '2kms' swim, felt a little short changed. The long 1km swim made up for it I suppose. But the water was lovely, enjoyed a bit of swell down the south end, heaps of comforting water safety, swim commentary was entertaining, and appreciated the combo swim pricing - very good idea! Looking forward to the Classic in Feb :-)

  10. North Bondi ... Turned out to be just fine.
    Good conditions, but just enough of a swell to pitch swimmers a little out the back or alternatively push us along towards the finish.
    Well run by North Bondi surf club - registrations, water-safety, presentations all completely professional but at the same time friendly and low-key.
    I'll back up at Bondi for the Classic next month.

  11. Where is Aqua girls story?

  12. SORRENTO BAY SWIM 9 January

    Premier Ted backed up on Sunday for the 1.8 km Sorrento Bay swim. Mind you, being Premier does have advantages. He didn’t have to stroll the 1 km from registration next to the baths down to the start line at the Sorrento yacht club – he has a driver. The rest of us considered it a warm up.
    Lovely day for a swim. It’s a water start, shallow clear water. Clear as in transparent and clear water everywhere with just over 500 doing the 1.8 or the 600 m junior or novice event.
    You walk, or swim, to the first buoy. But this water critter does not walk on or in water so it’s a shallow swim to start. Then a straight one km course to the turning buoy. Plenty of time to get into that good steady rhythm. Beware the boat hazards. The good burgers of Sorrento see no reason to move their craft for a few hundred crazy swimmers. If you don’t swim into the boats (last year’s mistake for the first timer) you still have to watch out for the odd speed boat, marine safety boat, and even the Sorrento ferry (if you see it up close you’ve missed the turn).
    Last 400 metres after the turn should be home and hosed. But that helpful current is now against you. Thanks to the guy on the board who suggested I go behind a boat rather than risk being smacked into in by the current. Local knowledge appreciated.
    Half way to home, get up and walk or swim to shore? You can’t swim the whole way unless it’s a very shallow breaststroke so had to get up on two limbs. On the long walk to shore plenty of time to enjoy the view.
    “Football and fitness legend” Tom Hafey presented the prizes. Do your best, he told us all. And something about being dropped from teams and going on to win Grand Finals. Footy that is. Prizes? Melinda Kemp took out my division, as usual, despite doing the Pier to Pub the day before. She was several minutes ahead of Big Ted who did a respectable 30. I didn’t get “best and fairest”, “most improved” or even a spot prize. So consoled myself with lots of hot chips from the Baths and managed to steer clear of the vanilla slices on the way home.

  13. Beautiful day at Bondi. Refreshing to know that there are some kind swimmers amongst us. At the start of the 1km swim I was bragging about my new super duper goggles. Soon after the start they started leaking. I apologised to someone when I swam over them complaining about my goggles. Soon after I felt a tug at my leg and he offered me his goggles as he was swimming slow with his wife. I know I saw you at the end to return your goggles but thank you again. I went back to my old goggles for the 2km. What a great day for 2 fun swims.

  14. Re : Rozanne
    Now that's what our sport is all about isn't it?
    Our swimming family is full of amazing, kind hearted people.

    Thanks also to Kerry (above) for your account of the Sorrento swim. It can be a precarious swim, negotiating strong currents and moored boats, but it's also what sets it apart from so many others here in Victoria. Good luck at Portsea with the new course format.Would love to hear from you again with your views on the new layout.
    ~ Nicole Chester (AquaGirl72)

  15. Off to Portsea on Saturday. New course. If we are not rained out. KAOSVIC.


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