February 27 - March 5, 2022: Issue 528
Pittwater Swim Series Has Two Great Events Still To Run: The Bilgola + Avalon 'Round The Bends' & Beach Swims + The Pittwater Swim Series 2022 So Far...
Ocean swimmers grabbed the opportunity to take to the surf at Pittwater beaches at Newport, Mona Vale and Palm Beach as part of the Pittwater Ocean Swim Series in January.
The first swims were at Newport on Sunday 2nd of January where 545 eager swimmers tackled a challenging surf break to compete in the 400m, 800m and 2kms swims.
There was a lot of catching up with fellow swimmers as they put all the Covid troubles behind them to enjoy them the day.
According to John Guthrie, Chairman of the organising committee, it was wonderful to be able to safely hold the event after the disappointment of the cancelled swims last year.
“We were agreeably surprised by the number of entrants online at oceanswsims.com and with the swimmers who turned up on the day. Being the first swims in the series, and knowing we would not have the usual swimmers from around the globe, we didn’t know what to expect.
“The conditions before the swim day had not been good but when I saw the sun and that there was no wind, early that morning, I knew we would be right” said John.
“This is the biggest fund raiser for Newport Surf Club and like all the clubs, funds raised go towards life saving equipment purchases and maintenance.
“For the first time this year we started and finished the 800m swim at the front of the club house. This created more involvement by swimmers and spectators.
“As usual the fresh fruit supplied by our great sponsors Harris Farm Markets was highly popular for taking away the salt water taste. The BBQ also did a roaring trade with all the ingredients provided by Harris Farm Markets” John continued.
An inspiring feature of the Pool to Peak swim was the enthusiasm of the volunteers working on all the aspects of the event.
“Our volunteers were simply superb, going about their duties with a smile on their faces and looking like they really wanted to be there.
“It would be impossible to run an ocean swim of this size and complexity, without their energy and dedication. As chairman, I also had a great organising team to make it all happen. They include Gary Cook Life Member, Rob Barkley Life Member, Jan Proudfoot, Dave Garnham, Chris Garnham, Will Brown, President Glen Borg, Bec Capel, Jess Menzies and Richard Andjelkovic.
“It is an event that brings all our members together at the one time. We are already working on next year’s Pool to Peak which will be held on Sunday 8 January and we are looking forward to the continuing support of Northern Beaches Council for the Pittwater Ocean Swim Series as the swims provide a big boost to businesses in the area”.
John said the support of Harris Farm Markets as major sponsors is crucial to the success of the event. This was backed up by supporters Johnson Bros, Temperzone, LJ Hooker Newport, Royal Motor Yacht Club and Barrenjoey Smash Repairs.
Perfect day for Mona Vale’s swims
The swims at Mona Vale, on Sunday 23rd of January included The Don Jenkin Memorial Swim- 2.2kms from Warriewood to The Basin (Bongin Bay). As the name suggests the swim was started by club legend Don Jenkin (Doc) in 1978. The second was the Janice Mason Family Swim - 1.2kms from Mona Vale beach to The Basin.
“It was a perfect day for a swim – calm conditions, warm water, sun shining and no bluebottles; although the Southerly kicked in at 11.00 for a while and there was a shower at midday. While it was calm the starter managed to pick the biggest set of the day to send off the family swim first wave!
“We had a good turnout of 134 swimmers in the Family Swim and many of them did the longer Marathon Swim from Warriewood as well, where we had 227 starters” said Alan Mason a Mona Vale committee member.
According to Alan, Harry Came won the family swim in a fast time of 13.04 and backed up to win the Marathon Swim in an even faster 26.50; hotly pursued in both by Logan Kane and Peter Thiel. In the ladies a long-time supporter of our swims Christie Krenkels took out both events in 15.40 and 31.48.
“Jessie Quinn was second in the family swim and third in the marathon swim with Katrina Wilhite and Lisa O’Donnell taking out the other places. Our under 17 winners were Casper Larkin from Wentworth Falls and Ruby Halpin from Mona Vale.
“It was a great opportunity for competitors and spectators alike to see our new club building which is rapidly getting close to completion. This year is Mona Vale Surf Club’s 100 years anniversary and the opening of the new clubhouse will be a fantastic dual celebration.
“It will be a truly iconic building and a great community facility, which we will be able to showcase for next year’s swim,” Alan continued.
The 1.2kms was named in memory of club legend Janice Mason a much-loved P.E teacher, clubbie and Dawn Buster swimmer. Described as a phenomenal athlete by her peers, she succeeded at whatever sport she turned her hand to.
Sadly, in May of 2020, Mrs Mason passed away during her daily morning swim ritual, with the Dawn Busters, across the Mona Vale basin. The swim name is recognition of Mrs Mason’s incredible impact on the surf club community,
Mrs Mason’s husband Alan, a past Mona Vale SLSC president and Life Member, said “It is truly lovely that they have named the event after her.”
Big Swim Draws 1500 swimmers
The Big Swim, the pioneering ocean swim in the series attracted approximately 1500 entries. It was held on Sunday 30th of January.
According to Annette Baggie, Big Swim organiser, conditions on the day were very good with no bluebottles and a reasonable surf.
“The Little Big Swim, now sponsored by Ray White Prestige, was held first, just off Palm Beach, with approximately 280 swimmers. Winners overall were Luke Thornton (10-17) 7m48s and Brooke Perry (30-39) 8m48s. Each of the overall winners receive $500.
“The Big Swim is a real challenge for ocean swimmers with a gruelling Palm Beach to Whale Beach course It started at 10am with a staggered start for Covid safety.
“The overall winners were Ollie Signorini (28m06s) and Lexi Harrison (32m19s)” said Annette.
“Our MCs were Mel Kounnas at Palm Beach and Jon Harker, sport broadcaster, at Whale Beach, who both did a great job.
We would like to thank our sponsors Macquarie Group, Ray White Prestige, Luxico, Signarama, Fantasea Cruises, Oceanswims.com, Fresh Produce Group, Brown Bros Skip Bins, SB Web Designs and our amazing team of volunteers,” Annette concluded.
Tsunami forces Bilgola swims to be rescheduled
The Bilgola swims originally planned for Sunday 16 January were cancelled due to, would you believe it, a Tsunami warning!
However, Bilgola organisers quickly set another date for their swims on Sunday March 13th when 500m and 1,500 swims will be on offer.
Bilgola is a very pretty beach and the organisers are looking forward to welcoming swimmers keen to take to the water in the beautiful March weather.
“We took the decision not to proceed due to the Tsunami warning for safety reasons even though ocean conditions were normal.
“If you entered the original event, your entry has been rolled over to the new date of 13th of March. We are looking forward to a big roll-up of swimmers on the day.
“The Bilgola swims also qualify for the Pittwater Series, Swim the Whitsundays Swim Tour prize, kindly donated by oceanswims.com. To qualify for entry, you need to swim four of the five Pittwater swims and Bilgola and Avalon are two swims still to be held,” said David.
REGISTER HERE: oceanswims.com/event/bilgola-ocean-swim
Avalon swim offers unique view of headlands
The last of the Pittwater Ocean Swim Series will be held by Avalon surf club on Sunday 27 March. The club’s iconic, Around the Bends, swim of 2.5Klms has only been going for five years. It.is attracting a growing number of ocean swimmers looking for a real challenge.
Around the Bends starts at 8.00am followed by a 1.5klms swim off Avalon Beach at 9.30.00am.
Starting from the northern end of Newport Beach, the current will take you around the headland. Surrounded by your fellow swimmers and plenty of water safety you will continue across the sandy bottom of Bilgola Beach until you reach Bilgola Headland. Usually, a great vantage point for whale watching, you will see these amazing headlands from a unique perspective. Above the water the views are great but below you the rock shelves extend to large boulders and caves. This pristine world is home to giant schools of fish and it’s not unusual to spot a turtle or a very friendly cuttlefish. Over the 2.5 Klms., of wonder and excitement; you will conquer three beaches before breakfast in the safety of a group of ocean swimmers.
Volker Klemm, organiser of the swims, has swum the course a number of times and said: “I loved the changes in the underwater environment as we swam along. Last time I saw a lovely ray and lots of little fish amongst the bright green beds of seagrasses just before getting into Avalon Beach. The underwater views are absolutely wonderful. I don’t tend to swim it at full pace as I get caught up enjoying the view,” said Volker.
“We chose Sunday 27 March as we expect the weather to be mild and the ocean conditions moderate”.
The Avalon swims offer the last chance or swimmers to clock up their four swims to go in the draw for the Swim the Whitsunday swim tour prize. Details below:
Conquer 3 Beaches Before Breakfast!
It is not often that you get to combine and enjoy two great passions: the beauty of the ocean and exercise.
On Sunday March 27th 2022 the Avalon Beach SLSC will coordinate one of Sydney’s most beautiful ocean swims for the 5th time. Starting from the northern end of Newport Beach, the current will take you around the headland. Surrounded by your fellow swimmers and plenty of water safety you will continue across the sandy bottom of Bilgola Beach until you reach Bilgola Headland. This is usually a great vantage point for whale watching and you will see these amazing headlands from a unique perspective.
Above the water the views are great but it's below where the magic happens as you swim over the rock shelves that extend to large boulders and caves. This pristine world is home to giant schools of fish and it’s not unusual to spot a turtle or a very friendly cuttlefish. 2.5 kilometres of wonder and excitement!
A member of the ABSLSC, who has swum the course a number of times and said: “I loved the changes in the underwater environment as we swam along. Last time I saw a lovely ray and lots of little fish amongst the bright green beds of seagrasses just before getting into Avalon Beach. The underwater views are absolutely wonderful. I don’t tend to swim it at full pace as I get caught up enjoying the view.”
Kalinda, who is new to ocean swimming said: “even on an average day you can see the bottom of the ocean most of the way, which is very reassuring. If you really want to enjoy the swim without the competitiveness of a swim race, grab your flippers, wear a wetsuit and join us in the Back of Pack starting group for a more relaxed sort of a swim.”
March 27 has been chosen as the water is expected to be a balmy 23C and the tides on the day will not be very extreme. We are looking forward to a lovely swim in the best possible weather and conditions. Bring your GoPro for a truly magical experience.
There have been two shark sightings at South Avalon in the past week and the beach was closed while searches were conducted and surveillance maintained by lifesavers on the weekend and lifeguards during the week. The beach was reopened after the all clear was given.
Surf Club Event Manager Volker Klemm said: "Safety, as always, will be paramount for the Avalon Beach Surf Swims, and conditions will be assessed on the day. The surf club will have a high level of water safety accompanying swimmers, and lookouts will be stationed on the headlands. All will be in constant radio contact with each other to provide the maximum degree of safety possible for swimmers."
On the same day we will also be running (for the 28th time) our 1.2km Avalon Swim in front of Avalon Beach. With the help of the ‘North Avalon express’, you can get an easy ride out past the flowing seaweed and sea life covered rocks to the first buoy before swimming across the beach to the middle of the beach and back to the Clubhouse.
This is a great event to get the kids involved. While Avalon’s shore dump can at times be tricky to navigate, the easy ride out and the scenic swim across the beach between the headlands make it all worthwhile. And of course offers valid bragging rights for you and/or your child as soon as landing on the sandy finish line!
This year Avalon Beach SLSC will offer the two swims for the price of one – the 2.5km Around the Bends Swim and the 1.2km Avalon Swim. The 2.5km starts at 8.00am and the 1.2km starts at 9:30am. This timing means that if you have a child who would like to swim, you can do both swims.
Enter one or both swims. Cost is $40 for one or both swims.
REGISTER HERE https://oceanswims.com/event/avalon-beach-surf-swim