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Australia Day 2019 – Vikings Oz Day Lake Swim

Report by Web Editor, Al Byrne.

In what has become something of an Australia Day holiday tradition for the Vikings, a keen group of swimmers and families of swimmers again made their way to the shores of Yarralumla Bay, Lake Burley Griffin, on Monday 28 January 2019 for an afternoon swim followed by a picnic at the beach.

While we didn’t initially get to enjoy quite the sunshine that we’ve seen in previous years, it didn’t faze the fifteen or so swimmers (including our one four-legged swimmer – Rosie – Nicolee’s excitable Schnauzer).

This year, our safety-conscious prez, Greg Gourley, even decided to forgo the swim himself, and made the lap of Spinnaker Island by kayak, acting as our safety boat. Whether he liked it or not, he was ‘assisted’ at random intervals by Rosie!

In an innovation aiming to assist the navigationally challenged among us (ie: those of us that can’t swim in a straight line – your correspondent definitely included!), Anne even dragged her fluorescent orange safety float behind her for the whole swim. Thank you Anne!

As always, great company and a picnic accompanied by a glass or two of holiday cheer, made for a wonderful relaxed afternoon.

Campbelltown BPS Meet – Sat 19 Jan 19

Report by Katrina Burgess – Club Captain

It was a wonderful way for the Tuggeranong Vikings Club to start the Masters Swimming 2019 racing season with a trip up the highway to Campbelltown for the first Branch Point Score (BPS) meet of the year. No toll fees or traffic congestion to contest with, just fellow Masters – like minded swimmers, from a total of 29 clubs.

The Vikings team had eleven swimmers: Katrina Burgess, Donna Campbell, Brian Curtis, Nicholas Grinter, Kylie Lane, Paul Maggs, Caroline Makin, Atsuko McGowan, Richard Phillips, Anne Reid and Anne Smyth.

And, we smashed the competition, winning the Average Points per swimmer, with a score of 39.1 points per swimmer from a maximum of 40! This is an incredible achievement and only achieved because all eleven Vikings swam their maximum number of four swims. The club also achieved fourth place on overall club points. Definitely worth huge congratulations…. very well done team!

With the heat wave the East Coast had been experiencing, the water temperature in the 50m outdoor pool at Bradbury was a warm 30 degrees! Other highlights of the meet included the friendly duck that swam alongside many swimmers during the day, and even helped out the officials with some refereeing. The duck even managed to get his/her own story on the MSNSW website! 

Swimming highlights include:

•Three Vikings club records – two to Brian Curtis and one to Nick Grinter.

•Age championship wins to Atsuko McGowan and Caroline Makin.

•Both the Women and Men’s medley relay teams winning their age groups.

•But the number one highlight was watching Brian race his 50m butterfly. His children and his teammates watched him make the swim without taking a breath, and in a time of 30s! Post race he stated, however, that he won’t be attempting this again anytime soon and will go back to his usual one breath per 50m!

Congratulations and a big thank you to all eleven swimmers and support crew for an enjoyable and very successful excursion.

Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim – Sun 02 Dec 18

Report by club Prez, Greg Gourley.

After a big night of pre-race preparation at our annual Awards Night and club Christmas party, eleven Vikings (five solo swimmers, a relay team of two and a relay team of four) were brave enough to front up for the Sri Chinmoy National Capital Swim in Canberra’s Lake Burley-Griffin. This is an annual event swum over a huge nine kilometre course passing Government House, Parliament House (old and new), the National Museum, National Library, National Gallery and the High Court. This one is definitely an iconic Canberra event!

There had been some discussion at the Christmas party regarding the recent rain and cold weather, the water temperature reports and the weather forecast. The unknowns meant that wetsuits were definitely worth some careful consideration!

Competitors, their support paddlers, family and friends, and even a few dogs, met at Scrivener Dam at around 7:00 AM, in anticipation of the solo race start at 7:45 AM and teams start at 8:00 AM. At this point, the weather was sunny and calm.

The calm before the storm! (Swimmer: Suzie Gunning, and paddler Dom, her son)

However, casting an eye to the west, towards the Brindabella Ranges, revealed an approaching weather front.  During the second leg, at approximately 4 km into the course, the imminent arrival of that front began to be felt – with significant wind waves starting to form. During the third leg the impact of the weather front was well and truly felt! Donna Campbell, acting as support paddler for Nicholas Grinter, capsized her kayak in the rough conditions! A thoroughly drenched Donna quickly recovered to her rightful place, and bravely pressed on! For the swimmers the wind waves made it feel as though they were swimming in a washing machine. For the paddlers; it was like preparing for an Olympic ‘white-water’ slalom!

Anybody seen Donna?

Special congratulations to:

1. Nick Grinter, who won the solo men’s event, despite losing time when paddler Donna went for her unexpected swim!
2. Suzie Gunning, for completing her first 9km solo open-water swim, and
3. Maria Castles, Kirsten Madsen, Bill Eversham and Kris Kennedy – our team of four – who completed their first 9km team open-water swim (in the worst of the conditions).

Results and times for all Vikings swimmers are below. The Sri Chinmoy event page has lots more photos and full results. Our club has regularly had a very good showing at the summer Sri Chinmoy lake swims. Check out the details for the next event, scheduled for Sun 24 Feb 19. Hoping to see you there!

Place – Category
Place out of the water


Nicolas Grinter
First place - Solo Male Under 50


Greg Gourley
First place – Solo Male 60+ with wetsuit


Paul Hitchman
Sixth place – Solo Male Under 50


Suzie Gunning
Second place – Solo Female 50-59 with wetsuit


Nicolee Martin
First place – Solo Female 50-59


Jeanette Droop & Leisa Cass
First place – Female Team over 50


Maria Castles, Kirsten Madsen, Bill Eversham & Kris Kennedy
Fourth place – Mixed Team of four