Cole Classic Ocean Swim – 3 February 2013

Report by Anne Smyth

The Cole Classic is a huge spectacle to swim in — a great experience to do!  Over 4,000 swimmers competed in the 2km and 1km events on Sunday, 3 February 2013. It was the 30th year the event has been held, which they claim to be Australia’s biggest ocean swim. Three of our members, Anne Smyth, Caroline Makin and Liz Hickey were part of this tremendous event this year.

The weather and surf conditions were not ideal with the event almost being cancelled.  The surfers were out in force on Manly Beach enjoying the huge sets and, as happened in the previous year, the course was changed to swimming out and in of Shelley Beach. There was a huge swell and, interestingly, there was a massive wave breaking off shore. Apparently this is called the Queenscliff Bombora which only occurs 4-5 times a year when conditions are sufficiently rough.

By the time Caz and Anne entered the water in wave 15 the conditions had really deteriorated and buoys were moved as they were found to be placed in a rip too close to the Queenscliff Bombora, and swimmers were heading for New Zealand!

Anne and Caz lined up on the sand just after midday with all women over 40 to take on the 2k swim. They thought they would try to get a good start, but it was not to be. After several swimmers on the front line false starting, they ran into the water with people just diving all over them, and it was pretty rough going up to the first buoy. However, after clearing the field, Anne found open water and quite enjoyed the swim — if you disregarded the huge swell and murky deep water!!!! Caz was caught in a small pack of swimmers, finding herself doing all the hard work at the front, with the rest of them using her to draft off – most annoying!

The main problem both ladies both found was plotting their course!!  Anne reckoned she had never swum so far off course and Caz was the same — her map from her computer watch which charted her swim recorded a very strange course!

However, they both made it into the beach, even though the surf at Fairy Bower going around the final buoy meant it felt like swimming in a washing machine, to find that the other ladies in their wave must have had the same problems as they both came in over the finish in the top eight in their female over 40 wave out of the water.

Anne Smyth placed 2nd in her age group from 21 swimmers in a time of 28:05. Caroline Makin came not far behind Anne in a time of 28:25, placing 3rd from 47 swimmers.  Overall, the ladies final placings were impressively 35th and 42nd respectively from 407 female swimmers, and 92nd and 108th from just over 1,200 competitors.

Well done also to Liz Hickey, a relatively new member to our club, who competed in the 1km swim earlier on the Sunday morning.  Liz finished the swim in a time of 22:19. Apparently Liz said she is now “hooked” on ocean swimming … Go Liz, here’s to many more as a Viking!

If you enjoy ocean swimming or would like to try one , mark the date in your calendar for next year, as it’s a great event to take part in!

Full results are available.

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