Monday, March 7, 2011

Super Sundee (Super Weekend)...

It was Super Sundee in NSW, Super Weekend, really, with five swims on offer with 11 events in all. Don't know which way to look. We arrived at Freshwater to see the Manly course laid out past the headland with our marker booees. Some people turned up and were heard to gasp in wonder, "gee, it's a long swim!" But, no, the Freshie people didn't require us to swim all the way down to Manly and back.

All three swims on Sundee reported triffic conditions -- Freshie, Manly and Tamas-Cloey. Water is so clear right now, you can reach out and pat the blue groper, maybe not the baby sharks. We got some noice video, we think, and will post it on very soon.

It rained in Coffs, a bit, and Lake macquarie was a bit blowy from the south with side chop, disorienting particularly those who float high in the water.

But tell us about your swims...


  1. Re Tama/Cloey - Last year’s event was a pretty miserable experience for me (after a long cold wait, I didn’t get to swim) but last Sunday’s swim was something else entirely and not just because the surf conditions were good. I am opposed to the idea of timed waves and hope other clubs don’t take this up however this year there was more flexibility with regard to wave starts. Less of a paternalistic feel and even if you didn’t take advantage of it, it was noice to have a choice. Nuff said!

    I’ve done a swim every weekend bar one this season and Sunday’s swim is equal favourite with the Palm to Whale. More rock ‘n roll than Palm/Whale and for longer - from after we left the back of Bronte right into Clovelly, we bobbed around like colourful corks. Really well set out swim – large rectangular orange buoys which were easy to spot. Easy to navigate, if you aimed for the tip of the Clovelly headland you just cruised through. Lots of space the whole distance so no argy bargy and water safety folks galore generously giving up their precious Sunday for the sake of their clubs. Despite the visit by you know who last year (my, what big teeth you have), I felt perfectly safe the whole time, the “s” word didn’t cross my mind and I was never alone, surrounded by lifesavers and other swimmers. Lots of little fish en route (didn’t spot a groper, boo hoo), a vibrant seabed with waving seagrass and what a fabulous experience looking to the right at the cemetery and the cliff walk! So picturesque. I forgot that swimming into Clovelly Bay can be difficult due to the chop/swell – it wasn’t over until it was over and your feet hit the sand.

    From the cliff walk, this swim looks daunting but once you’re out there, it’s not so arduous. I love these journey swims watching the landmarks pass as you swim by. They seem to go quicker for me than the swims contained within one bay or beach even though they are often longer distances.

    It was a challenging and joyful swim, departing with a chuckle at HG’s amusing observations and arriving to a carnival atmosphere with great band and delish bbq. A heartfelt thanks go to Cloey & Tama SLSC. This is a ‘must do’ swim which leaves you with a sense of accomplishment – J.

    PS I appreciate this is a huge ask but I’d love a series of swims at the eastern beaches, gradually increasing the distance each week, eg Bondi to Bronte, Bondi to Clovelly, Bondi to Coogee or the other way around. OK, it's a fantasy...

  2. About 2 minuites into Tama-Cloey I came up for breath after what seemed an interminable time under a big wave and saw what looked like another tsunami heading for me. "Help, I'm not going to make it" was my immediate thought, but on looking shorewards I saw I was a long way out - or rather it was a long way back - and momentary panic set in.

    The panic wasn't quite enough to get me to stick my hand in the air and be rescued, but it was a close thing.

    "Are you ok" asked a bright young water safety girl, bobbing cheerfully as I gasped and floundered. She kindly didn't add "granddad" but I could tell that's what she was thinking.

    Shame, luck and possibly a small amount of determination got me over and under the final two waves and I made it to the buoy, but it was a close call.

    Suffice to say it was NOT fun - at least up until then.

    Which made the rest of the swim quite pleasant by comparison. The water was warm, the stings from (I presume) bits of broken off bluebottle were but a minor irritant and the washing machine like churn of the swell was almost soothing.

    Even though I've done this swim before, I was fooled by the number of headlands you have to pass before you get to Cloey, so even though I enjoyed the relative calm (compared to the start) I began to tire before the final turn.

    That last drag into the beach, where you're pushed three metres by a wave and then swim at a standstill in the pullback for 30 seconds, was also pretty tiring and I was knackered by the time I crawled out. However three rather pleasant coconut and juice thingies helped me revive.

    The water safety did a great job and it was a good swim, but it was seriously scarey at the start, probably the second most difficult break I've negotiated.

    The small waves (of people, not water) were excellent and there was no crowding of biff - in fact I saw very little of my fellow swimmers. I know most of them probably negotiated the break much better than me, the bastards.

  3. Manly swim was great!! perfect conditions and great course for the 2km swim. THANKS Manly LSC!!

  4. Its funny reading how enjoyable the Tama-Cloey swim was for some people... I thought it was one of those swims that you wanted to be over ASAP but as soon as you crossed the line the memory of the hard work was immediately forgotten and can't wait for next year's already! Amazing amount of water safety - thanks guys - particularly comforting to know you were there as I was throwing up with sea sickness somewhere around the 3/4 mark even if I didn't need you. I for one, love the seeded starts. I wrote once before how annoying it is to have big guys battering you all the way to the first buoy only for them to fade very fast after that. At least this way the race to the first buoy is a real one that will last the full course. Thanks Tama-Cloey for a great swim!

    Very different experience on Saturday at Lake Macquarie... Rumour has it that the ferry was wrongly ordered for the Sunday - WTF? There was very little communication as we freezed our butts off waiting for the ferry to arrive. I usually love and rave about this swim but not so this year. I'll rethink whether I trek up from Sydney for it again after this weekend's debacle.

    Also oceanswims - it was my birthday on Sunday but the 'age' calculator on the Tama-Cloey registration wouldn't let me put in my 'new' age, so thanks to you I stayed a year younger for a day longer - best birthday present ever :-)

  5. Time heals all wounds. I'll be back for the Cross the Lake swim next year - it's one of my faves; and the ferry being late gave me more of a chance to catch up with swim buddies. Conditions were tough and I recorded my worst time (11 mins slower than PB) but that's the challenge of the such swims - never the same, and waves in a shallow fetch of water are relentless.

    If we focus on those things that go wrong in the swims, you'll never enjoy them. One day, this swim might not be there to enjoy, so we might here complaints of a different kind. Some local swims in the Hunter have been canned due to lack of sponsorship, or concern over public liability. However, as long a SB SLSC keep on with this swim, I'll be there.

  6. I loved the Manly swim. It qualifies as a fair dinkum community event and was a welcome change from those swims that attract in excess of 1000 entrants. There were just the two waves in the 2 km event -men in first and then women. The course, out from Manly to Shelley and back into the surf beach, was picture perfect. I saw a one-metre long shark way below me as I swam too wide of the buoys at Shelley. I guess the detour was worth it!

  7. I LOVED the Tama-Cloey swim! Probably my favourite this year, closely followed by Palm Beach to Whale Beach. I have come to the conclusion that I love 'journey' swims - looking at the scenery, looking at the people looking at us!, the different feel of the water as we pass different beaches/headlands/cemeteries(!) - and all this whilst skirting the very edge of our continent! What a privilege!

    Most of the best bits have been said by the blobbers before me, but I must give a special mention to two groups. Firstly, the water safety guys at Tama. Yes, the break was difficult, but they made it SO much easier. Their yellow floaty thingys which they held in the air to show us the way were a dream - so easy to follow. And sure, for the true purists, maybe it took away some of the challenge, but for me it made it safe and gave me the confidence that I was going in the right direction ('cause I couldn't see diddly-squat over those big waves!).

    Secondly, to the group of 'cheer leaders' off Bronte (or was I hallucinating here? Did anyone else see/hear them?). There were a group of girls on boards singing and cheering us on right out there in the middle of the ocean! Awesome - whoever you are, thanks for the support!

  8. hey i'll be back for more "across the lake" swims too. many positives from that swim - will list in point form as am a nerd at heart;

    1. no sea lice - i was actually more worried about that than sharks. v pleased to report that am spot-free - and i certainly gave the little bastards plenty of time to get me

    2. goofing off with all my ocean-swimming buddies for ages beforehand, as we waited to get to the start line. v funny bunch of people are ocean swimmers

    3. the smugness of swimming a good line for the first half of the swim by using the sloping landscape behind the 16 ft's as a landmark (never mind the second half, which took me twice as long...)

    4. the endurance test - i now know i can swim continuously for A VERY LONG TIME

    5. an excuse to not go bike-racing that afternoon (too tired) was a time trial too so would have been humiliating

    6. my friend ann referring to non-wetsuit wearers as "normal"

    just one point i would like to make to all of those people out there who are friends with "slower" swimmers - it would be appreciated if you could all make a bit more of an effort to not look so bloody dry when your tired slow friends finish so far behind you. pour a bit of water of your heads, whatever. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE A SHOWER, GET DRESSED, AND HAVE MOSTLY DRY HAIR.

    so yes, the event was great in many ways.

    liz hill (not annonymous)

  9. Weird. My freshie swim time in the results (27mins) here is not even
    close to the time they allocated to me on the day (22mins). Well there goes my hopes of a first ever top 10 in my cat. Bummer!!

  10. Loved the Tamma swim. Best this year and for a couple of years really. It was challenging and bumpy but nothing to bad. The organisation was perfect and everything grand really.
    It is funny that everyone likes the seeded starts. I am an older "lady" and was in the second wave. I found it much more aggressive and physical than any swim I have been in for a long time. I also had people all around me the whole time - some getting shitty that I was too close. Give me back my old lady companions. Next year I might elect to go in a different wave. I did not realise I could do that. cheers and thanks to all

  11. Great swim at Tamma. Choppy and bouncey all the way till the last 50m. Love the seeded waves. Took some water on board breathing to the left.Well run guys,lots of water safety and friut and drink at the end. The wave at Tamma is awesome. How about joining the majority of swims and use the 5 year age groups. Over 500 started, thats more than enough.It's not the prize it's the placing that's important. See you next year , hopefully in 5 year groupings


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