Report by Caroline Makin
Following on from the success of three Vikings in this this event in 2011, this year saw eleven Vikings take part in swimming some or all of the 9km of Lake Burley Griffin Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim on Sunday, 2 December 2012.
Solo swimmers can chose to swim in a wetsuit or no wetsuit category and require a paddler to accompany them. Teams can be made up of 2-4 swimmers and can be female, male or mixed teams.
There are 4 legs to the swim. This year, Yarralumla Bay swimming beach was closed a couple of days before the event due to elevated levels of bacteria at this location. The transition was moved to near to the Water Police boat ramp meaning a slightly shorter 2nd leg and slightly longer 3rd leg than normal.
The legs were as follows:
Leg 1 Scrivener Dam boom to Weston Park, 1.8 km
Leg 2 Weston Park to Yarralumla Bay, 2.4 km (normally 2.5km)
Leg 3 Yarralumla Bay to Commonwealth Place, 3.2 km (normally 2.9 km)
Leg 4 Commonwealth Place to Grevillea Park, 1.8 km
The weather forecast running up to the event was for a warm day, but with possible thunderstorms the night before and rain on the morning of the swim. However, a still and sunny start to the day meant a good smooth start for the first legs, though after about half way, clouds gathered and a westerly wind picked up, making the second half considerably tougher than the first.
First Viking off the blocks (well the dam actually) was Greg Gourley (and his paddler Brett), who yet again took on the challenge of the lake as a solo swimmer, without a wetsuit for the first time in his 9k lake swim history!
‘Ironman’ Gourley swam each leg strong and steady, grabbing some nutrition along the way from his paddler Brett, and completed the 9k in 2:43:46, finishing 2nd in his category (Solo Male 50-59) and 14th overall. Greg also managed to swim the 9km faster than many of the teams who took part!
Our three Viking teams headed off 15 minutes after the solo swimmers, hoping to pass a few along the 9k course.
Caroline Makin, who swam as a Female Duo Team ‘The Brit Sisters’ with her sister Philippa Rickard last year, partnered with Anne Smyth this year as the ‘Viking Dynamic Duo‘ swimming alternate legs, both choosing to go without wetsuits. This year Caroline swam legs 2 & 4, rather than 1 & 3.
Anne gave the Dynamic Duo a really good start, with the third fastest female time for leg 1 and leading the rest of the Vikings out to the first transition point.
Caroline took on leg 2, swimming strongly into the shore to hand over to Anne for the big third leg – a tough swim in increasingly windy conditions, with the final choppy leg seeing Caroline romp home as the second fastest female for that leg, bringing the the Dynamic Duo over the finish line in 2:36:28.
The ‘Dynamic Duo’ came 1st in the female team category and 2nd place team behind an all-male, wetsuit-wearing team and 11th overall.
Our two mixed teams, both consisting of four swimmers taking on one leg each, held true to the real camaraderie of the Vikings and the spirit of Masters swimming, some with first time efforts in the murky waters of the lake, and there were plenty of black swans who joined the swimmers along the way!
Ian Hampton, Jon McRae, Paul Hitchman and Brenda Day decided that wetsuits were the way to go for the ‘Viking Relics & HitchyBoy‘ team. Ian lead out the team at a steady pace, with a skirmish in the reeds, passing the baton to Jon who headed from Weston Park around the headland and along Black Mountain peninsula, looking strong as he headed into the transition for leg 3.
The maturer relics decided they would leave the big third leg to the younger Hitch, who put in a very quick swim, handing over at the flag poles to team captain Brenda, bringing them home solidly in a time of 2:44:41.
The ‘Relics’ came 2nd in the mixed team category, 4th place team and 16th overall.
Our other mixed team, the ‘Viking Lake Cruisers‘ consisted of Kristen Leydon, Nicolee Martin, Nick Dando and Atsuko McGowan. Kristen set off alongside Ian and Anne from the dam, and almost managed to hold onto Ian’s toes in the first leg. A gutsy effort into the stoney transition saw Kristen encourage her team mate Nicolee as she set off chasing Jon from the ‘Relics’ team along the 2.4km to Yarralumla.
Although not quite managing to catch Jon, a great swim by Nicolee meant she handed over to Nick not far behind Hitch heading off. Nick played his role as the only male in the team taking on the big 3rd leg, and allowing the ladies the shorter legs!
A solid swim, brought Nick under Commonweath Avenue bridge and into the final transition of the day.
Last up was Atsuko, a new comer to the lake and deciding that, although her team mates had decided not to wear wetsuits, she was going to give her new suit an outing in the lake!
Atsuko ‘cruised’ beautifully into the beach at Grevillea Park to run up to the finish line bringing her team in with a time of 2:47:24.
The ‘Cruisers’ came 4th in the mixed team category, 6th fastest team and 19th overall.
Read the full race report, along with full results (both overall and by category) and take a look at the race photo album from around the course.
Individual Viking swim leg times