Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lovely day, but bludgers were afoot

We weren't there, but we hear the Island Challenge at Coogee was a lovely day, but we expected it would be. From our bolthole, cosseted in an oasis of greenery in Sydney's inner east, gaoled, we could see the sky, we could feel the breeze, and we could smell the late spring air. Typical Coogee, we thought. And from all accounts, it was.

Our cobber, Murray Cox, looking for something of a flagship nature to do this season, is to be the male lead in a Tropfest movie about insomnia. Murray was at Coogee early -- he couldn't sleep -- and sent us a few pics of punters on the beach. We have no idea whom these punters are -- apart from  one of them -- but, since Murray was kind enough to send them to us, we feel we should acknowledge and use them. As for Murray's movie, Insomnia, his producer/director will be appealing very soon for supporters -- $10 a pop will get your name in the credits, for example -- so we'll let you know and you, too, can become a movie mogul. The bottom line is, if they don't get enough supporters, they won't make the movie, which is a bit extreme, we'd have thought.

Anyway, most of the accounts we heard from Coogee were positive of a smoothly run, friendly event. The only slightly negative bit of feedback -- apart from the heel wafting of one recidivist of which we heard -- was of the presos conducted in the surf club. One punter told us they were terrific, whilst another told us they weren't. We have to say, any presos conducted inside a surf club immediately exclude the bulk of the entrants, who don't feel able, for one reason or another, to go inside just in case they win a random draw.

Speaking of heel wafting, Mrs Sparkle was the victim of one, but she also tells us she swam past another woman heel wafting on some bloke, who seemed to have his heels painted with bright stripes, targets, perhaps, so she could find him?

We've said it before, and we shall keep saying it: heel-wafting -- drafting -- is cheating; it's bludging. There is only one reason to draft, and that is to get around the course under someone else's steam. The leader effectively drags the heel-wafter along behind. There's only one person really trying: the leader. The heel-wafter is bludging, using the lead swimmer's effort to get much of their speed. They do it in triathlon, but they're an eccentric bunch in that sport, spending thousands just to be a part of it in the first place. They do it in elite open water swimming, but they also generally take turns leading at the elite level, so that everyone does their bit, much like cyclistes.

Genuine, honest ocean swimmers don't draft; they don't bludge on their comrades; they don't steal someone else's effort.

Otherwise, we're told, Coogee was a lovely day. We heard noice reports from the Killer Swim in Mur'bah, too, and from Redcliffe, where the Great Australian Swim Series had another outing. Whom of you swam where? Tell us abart it...


  1. Tweed swim was awesome, weather great, well organised, will definitely be coming back for this swim.

  2. I don't care about drafting.
    If seventy or 200 swimmers start together, they're not all going to chart their own course away from the pack. In that crowd, there are many much worse risks, like the muppets who stop to breaststroke around the buoys.
    If someone touches my feet often it pisses me off and I work hard not to touch yours. But if you want my slip stream, you're welcome to it. And if you're a little faster than me, but I can ride yours, I'm in there. It's much worse to be stuck behind two fat old men just a little slower than I am, who think their weaving line has a special priority and lash out at someone trying to squeeze through the gap.

  3. Well said DavidG.
    Coogee was a beautiful day and the water was glorious. It was all good.
    I don't care about drafting. I don't even care about people who breastroke around buoys. You got crazy people at work, nutters on the roads, and breastrokers around buoys. Move on.
    You want something to moan about try hypothermia at Wedding cake Island in 2010 or standing around in your budgies for an hour in driving rain waiting for crazy Jo's 2011 ANZAC day swim, I could write a book. I accept a bit of rough and tumble in the ocean swims, especially at the start, then try and avoid the mele by swimming a bit wide and finding my own space. There is a whole ocean out there, plenty of room for everyone.
    I am however concerned about that "red algal bloom that glowed a phosphorescent blue at night" off Bondi this week. Vacillating on whether to jump in for the Bondi-to-Bronte on Sunday, I just don't like the sound of it. Supposedly the beaches are reopened, what do we think?


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