Sunday, December 4, 2011

Three ends of the spectrum...

Lovely day at North Curly... grey and cold at Mornington... glorious fading to blowy and miserable and even dangerous at Bondi-Bronte... You couldn't get  more contrasting conditions... We'll have something more to say on our report page, but tell us what you think... click the comments link below...


  1. I loved the chop and swell, and the challenge BUT I have never been so cold (and I probably swam it faster than most so hate to think how some of those slower and older skinny ladies and gents went). Part of the problem was standing around in the wind before even getting into the water.
    I suspect there was not enough water safety or first aid to run the swim safely in these conditions. There were a lot of seriously cold people at the end and I did not see to much assistance or even announcements about where to go or what to do. Will be interesting to hear if there were any serious problems but if not, it was probably more by luck than good management. Not sure what the solution is because I don't want to discourage organisers from running events on days like this. I like it when it is blowy and choppy. Much more interesting than swimming on a clear blue still day. But, the organizers need to have sufficient numbers of volunteers to ensure everyone’s safety. I am not convinced they did.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      Thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately what was looking to be an incredible morning, turned on us, meaning conditions deteriorated rapidly. Due to a couple of incidents at other beaches/locations we were without some of the water safety we had secured for the event. Swimmer safety is our number one priority and thus will be again working very closely with all the Council lifeguards and our volunteers to ensure increased coverage this year. We have also moved the junior ocean swim to another date thus ensuring full coverage for B2B.

      This year we have increased the number of baggage drops allowing everyone to stay in their clothes much closer to their swim time. The baggage drops will be running consistently – and we will encourage all swimmers to stay in their gear for as long as possible.
      Please also note the wetsuit policy we have introduced this year so in the week prior to the event we will communicate temperature and expected conditions updates – so all swimmers will be able to make a decision about their swimming attire and what they bring with them on the morning to keep warm.
      Happy swimming - B2B 2012!

  2. Bondi-Bronte:

    Good challenging swim in very choppy conditions. At least with Coogee last week, you only had to face the chop around the back of the island and on the way back in. Anyone got some hints of how to swim that stuff? I tried rolling more, longer glides, shorter strokes... nothing felt smooth or efficient. The hardest for me was coming down off the top of some chop and diving right into the back of the next one and practically coming to a dead stop.

    The course is always spectacular, regardless of the conditions. Today it was particularly well laid out and despite the breeze, those pink buoys stood up amazingly well. On the leg out towards Mackenzies, they were lined up almost perfectly and really easy to spot. For some reason, they were harder to spot on the leg across to Bronte. When I walked back to Bondi, the buoys all looked evenly placed, so I don't know what went wrong for me there. I couldn't resist the lure of the finishing archway which I spotted from the 2nd last buoy & headed straight for the beach. I knew something was wrong when there were no other swimmers around so I checked for swimmers towards the southern headland and pool and ended up having to turn sharply south to head across for the final buoy. Should've been counting the 7 pink buoys like we were advised. A number of swims have water safety holding an arm out for the direction to the next buoy - that certainly would've been handy, but maybe wasn't possible with the conditions.

    Also, there were quite a number of people cutting the buoys - particularly the first one off Bondi, probably because it seemed advantageous to start at the south side of the line to avoid the sweep and head straight out. Sure, it doesn't really make any difference to my result (I'm pretty average), but water safety can be handy for policing the buoys (it worked well at Coogee).

    Is that the best idea to have the dark blue caps following straight after the black caps? Easy to mix up the waves.

    Thanks to all the organisers and friendly volunteers. Bondi-Bronte is a must-swim for me each year.

    Rob Salamon

    1. Thanks for the feedback Rob, our course set up team worked tirelessly to set the course to the best possible setting for the day and when conditions changed they were back and forth ensuring all were secure and in best possible sight. There was an increased number of swimmers who needed assistance this year due to the conditions, thus our course water safety was focussed on assistance rather than those on the course that cut the bouys. We will also have a total of 12 bouys this year to increase visibility for all swimmers.
      There will be no black or navy caps this year – only very bright colours… so no waves will be mixed up and increasing swimming visibility for all water safety and other swimmers.
      We look forward to seeing you on the 2nd December!

  3. Bondi-Bronte: I don't think I've been in a swim where the weather has changed so suddenly. At 8.30am the sun beamed and the wind was tolerable. By race start at 9.30am the Southerly hit and grey clouds bunched on the horizon. The water temp, according to Bondi lifeguard station, was 18.2 degrees.

    I think the incredible chop for the swim's duration slowed a lot of people down and led to complications for some. I did okay (for a skinny older lady) but afterwards I had to search for my bag among hundreds of others that had been dumped in no particular order. That's when I started to feel really cold.

    I think it's hard to organise for weather like this. I never felt unsafe during the swim and noticed the water safety people dotted along the course. Also, the organisers did hand out aluminium 'jackets' to swimmers. I've saved mine for another time.

    1. Hi Shayne – Yes, it was disappointing to see that southerly roll in after such a beautiful start to the morning! Our event personnel and volunteers worked tirelessly to assist all swimmers and supporters on the day as the weather did challenge many swimmers. 18 degrees water temp is one of our chillier B2B’s and as the water temp is already 18 degrees, we are hoping with 8 weeks to go, the water temp will be over 20 degrees!
      In addition to the aluminium jackets or “space blankets” we have on hand for first aid treatment, we are also hiring clothes dryers and have started a towel donation drive to aid any cold swimmers at the completion of their swim. This will ensure that in addition to hot showers, we can provide warm dry towels to those in need. To help all swimmers prepare for this year, please check out our new wetsuit policy on the home page of our website to see the water and air temp levels for wetsuit allowances.
      Happy training!

  4. what a big weekend!
    nth curly on saturday - clear, fresh, sparkley water. 2 great events - will ressurrect the running shoes and have a go at the biathlon next year. what a nice friendly club! a few more water safety lovelies long the eastern and southern ends of the course would've been good - i have never seen so many people swim off course.

    bondi2bronte on sunday - what an accomplishment to all who swam it. i never felt unsafe - one of the advantages of being in a wave that started 35 mins behind the first one - there were always lots of people in front of me to follow. i guess the challenge will be to keep calm and carry on in such conditions where there are less competitors. as i was finishing there was an announcement that the first aid crew were running out of space blankets - i knew there were still a number of people behind me who had been out there for a while (as had i), so maybe people could hand their space blankets back in rather than taking them home.
    the bbq was one of the best organised and tastiest i have ever had!

    thanks to all slsc's involved

  5. I have never done a real ocean swim before (just Balmain and the 1km Coogee), and have never swum 2km before, even in a pool, so yesterdays Bondi to Bronte swim was a real baptism of fire!
    It was so calm at registration time at 8.30, but by my wave at 10.15 it looked like all hell had broken loose out to sea! Determined to do it I set off on a hour hour roller coaster ride-it was wild, cold but very rewarding. I never felt in danger, I just relaxed and didnt panic. In the really big rolling waves off Mackenzie, I just did a minute or so of breaststroke to get my rythym back before launching back to freestyle.
    Despite cramps in the last stretch I finished comfortably. So ocean swims are not all like that then? G

    1. Thanks for the BBQ feedback – yes, the Bronte BBQ team is pretty proud of their BBQ skills! We have increased our space blanket numbers this year and started our towel drive to increase our ability to warm any swimmer up who is on the chilly side… however all fingers and toes are crossed for a warm sunny summer day so these precautions won’t be needed! Look forward to seeing you this year!

    2. Wow – what a huge achievement, a very gutsy way to start your 2km swim experience!! A huge congrats to all swimmers who completed B2B in 2011, the conditions stretched all swimmers on the day. Sydney and the rest of Australia offer so many incredibly varied swims throughout the season you will find the journey different each year and at each swim, it’s what we love about ocean swimming! You certainly sound like you have the focus to enjoy the ride and the belief in yourself to complete you goals - we hope to see you again for B2B 2012.

  6. Good , challenging swim and well run.

    But is it too much to get a glass of water at the finishing line like every other swim....not in the sponsors tent in the park?

  7. Loved the 3 Points Challenge at Curlie on Saturday. The usual excellent organisation coupled with Louis's close relationship with the weather arranger ensured a smoothly run event. Louis had promised me fine warm (not hot) weather with a light breeze and delivered exactly that! So clever! The volunteers along the route were very friendly and encouraging so I always knew exactly where to go ... and how far.

    I have to tell you that the last stretch of sand at the end is very deceptive - from the clubhouse it looks like a short distance but at the end of the race, when you have to run it, it is like the Tardis - much bigger on the inside - and harder! That sausage and bacon sandwich at the end .... delicious. Thank you everyone. I had a wonderful time and am looking forward to next year's event.

    Also swam in the Bondi to Bronte on Sunday. Enjoyed the challenging conditions and was surprised at how well I coped but felt that a few more people on the beach/finish area looking out for very cold people would have been a good idea. Also had to go hunting for a drink, which took me a while. I was lucky when I searched for my bag as I spotted it quickly but others took far longer and got really cold in the process. Perhaps coloured bags or sorting by numbers would help, as in the City2Surf.
    It was a terrific swim. Thanks to everyone involved who contributed their time and considerable efforts to produce the event.

    1. Hi Rosie,
      Yes our team was pushed to help all swimmers who had taken on the challenging conditions… this year as well as water at the finishing area and in the park there will be increased numbers of personnel on the beach to assist swimmers. We are also improving the baggage collection and are working through tags system at the moment, so it should be a far smoother process for all to get their bags at Bronte.
      Congratulations on completing 2011 B2B, our volunteers and Club are dedicated to ensuring a great experience for all!

  8. I have no beef with the Bronte club or the volunteers in all their capacities on Sunday. I epecially am praising the work of the water safety crew - both professional and volunteer on Sunday. The highest praise possible. My beef is with the people or persons who project managed the event. It's the second time my online registration has gone astray. Same thing happened in 2008. I understand I wasn't alone in this this year. The swim organisers have to lift their game with the registration system. On Sunday I was told to queue up again in a very long late entries queue only to be told when I was at the front of the queue to come back again (to a very long queue) with a registration form. I gave up in disgust. It would have been my 10th B2B since its inception in 2001.

    The balls up was a blessing in disguise, given the conditions on the day. My observations from Mackenzies Point were that while the water safety people did a sterling job there weren't enough of them given the numbers swimming. Rescue boards were pretty light on out the back.

    Also the swim organisers need to forewarn people by email much earlier about the option to wear wetsuits. Having scores of people in thermal blankets afterwards was not a good look for what should have been one of the premium swims on the calendar.

    1. We would like to take this opportunity to apologise for your frustrations with the registration process last year and in 2008. We did have an issue with a small amount of registrations in 2011. We have worked very hard this year, with the website management system and the timing company who collate all the registration information from our website. We have tested the system and hope all issues from last year have been ironed out.
      We have also designed a clear (and forgiving) wetsuit policy, so everyone will know what temperatures they will be allowed to wear wetsuits in the age group categories this year from the very onset of registrations. This wetsuit information is featured on the home page of our website and we will be including water temperature information in our newsletters over the coming weeks. So all swimmers can watch the temps and start thinking about what is best for them in preparation for 2nd December.
      Due to the unfortunate conditions last year we have made some other changes to our preparations for the event ; like hiring clothes dryers, starting the towel drive and increasing the number of space blankets for first aid treatment. We will be reminding swimmers that they can drop their bags off much closer to their wave time, so people can keep warm prior to their start and we will be communicating conditions throughout the morning over the PA and have in
      We have taken your feedback and the feedback of all Bondi to Bronte swimmers with the greatest respect and hope that 2012 gives everyone an incredible ocean swim experience.

  9. South Curly ocean swim beautiful, but the biathlon was the absolute highlight of the season so far. Kudos to them (and the 150 volunteers) for putting on such a uniquely beautiful event.

    As a slight contrast on Sunday, the Bondi-Bronte was busy as always, and yet despite the spectable somewhat uninspiring after the atmosphere and excitement of Saturday.


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