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open water

Sri Chinmoy 10k National Capital Swim 2020

Report by Greg Gourley & Caz Makin

The National Capital Swim has always been a 9km swim down the full length of Lake Burley Griffin. At the request of some of our club members, the swim length was increased for 2020 to 10km, making it an official ‘Marathon’ Swim.

Club members who took part in the event were: Nicolee MartinSuzie GunningPaul QuinnGreg Gourley and Caz Makin.

Whilst navigating COVID post-lockdown, many swimmers were able to access pool swimming on their own outside of squad sessions during June and July with pools re-opening. With club training resuming in August, many swimmers were still endeavouring to regain fitness. At the start of September a group of like-minded members decided to start training for the 10km open water event.

The club’s Distance and Pace (D&P) group leader Greg Gourley came up with a 10-week training plan. This was significantly shorter than the desired plan with swimmers having a base level of swimming 12km per week and which would run for up to 20 weeks run for around 20 weeks. Some of the swimmers attending the D&P sessions probably had less of that base and were unable to dedicate more than one D&P session per week, however, each Friday the D&P group, some or all of the crew who entered the 10km event, met at Stromlo pool for the planned D&P training session when they were able, due to work commitments and willing, with the mindset to handle the style of the sessions. Some swam their own distance training sessions on their own outside of the Friday session. Some participants had a couple of ‘practice’ open water events as swimmers in the Triple Tri a couple of weeks before.

Some swimmers, i.e. Caz, only decided to take part in the 10km event a week before it taking place and had done no D&P sessions apart from a couple in the first weeks of the 10-week plan! She did have a very personal reason for doing so … simply “for my dad “Masharubu” in the UKwearing the lion with pride, for one last time in an swimming event.”

Due to water quality issues, and the closure of the regular finish spot at Grevillea Park, two days before, the organisers moved the event to Lake Ginninderra to be swum as 4 x 2.5km laps.

It was disappointing to learn that we wouldn’t be swimming the length of Lake Burley Griffin and instead would do laps around Lake Ginninderra. Given this decision, paddlers accompanying our swimmers were given a reprieve and were not needed for the event.

On race day, Greg was up at 4 am for an early coffee and small breakfast, followed by a smothering of sunscreen. Most probably others lay in bed for up to another hour. 

On arrival at the venue at 6 am, many swimmers were already there, including one of our club’s former coaches, Gary Odewahn, who was also taking part as a solo swimmer.

The wind was already up and blowing quite hard and we all knew it was going to get worse as the morning progressed!

At 6:30 am all solo swimmers and some teams hit the water into the waves and wind.

For each 2.5 km lap, the first half was OK, with the wind behind us, but heading across the diagonal to the far end of the lake and then taking the 180-degree turn around buoy sending us back up the lake was a different story.

As the lap count increased, so did the wind and waves, each lap becoming progressively harder, with some swimmers experiencing the feeling of seasickness/nausea.

Caz, despite feeling pretty decent in the first 2 laps up to the 5km mark, hit complete “glycogen bonk” (as happens to runners and cyclists) at around 6.2km battling with the choppy water and nausea and the lack of any specific training for the event, having to swim the last km of the 3rd lap breaststroke to get “home” at just under 7.7km in total, and made the wise decision to not attempt the 4th and final lap.

Paul Quinn, Nicolee Martin, Suzie Gunning, and Greg Gourley all completed the full 10km swim, which just shows that the D&P training sessions they completed (some or all of), increasing distance week-by-week up to a max of 8km in the run up to the event, definitely assisted in their ability to cross the finish line! A great effort indeed! Well done D&P’ers!!






The event this year comprised 30 solo swimmers and 16 teams. Check out the full results for the 2020 event.

In previous years we have often had a team or a few teams taking part in the event, so if you don’t fancy doing it solo, consider getting up to 4 club members together for a team!

Thanks to the paddlers who offered to paddle for us — we know that it’s also a big commitment and can also be a big challenge to some of them. Thanks also to our family and club members who came to support us.

Broulee Bay to Breakers Ocean Swim – Sun 10 Mar 19

Report by Web Editor, Al Byrne

The Canberra Day holiday long weekend of 09-10-11 March 2019 saw a few extra ACT numberplates amongst the crowds on the highway over to the coast.

Two Vikings – Nicolee Martin and Al Byrne, as well as one former Viking – Petrina Quinn, made the trip to beautiful Broulee on the NSW South Coast for the eighth annual Broulee Bay to Breakers Ocean Swim, held on Sunday 10 March 2019.

This is a 1400 metre ocean swim from Broulee Island to South Broulee Beach, first held in 2012 (then featuring two Vikings ladies amongst the field of 178). To the delight of the hosts at the Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), a record-breaking field of over 400 swimmers signed up this year!

As well as the usual senior male/female ‘age’ categories, the event also included a complementary 500 metre junior event for under 14 and under 12’s.

For the diehards (ie: Nicolee and Petrina), the age category events were followed shortly thereafter by an ‘open’ swim – repeating the full course a second time!

On an absolutely sparkling sunny morning, the day started with the usual safety briefing in front of the Surf Club on South Broulee beach. Swimmers and supporters then made their way on foot the 400 metres around the headland to the start line at Broulee Island. The three groups of senior swimmers entered the water in sequence, with the main groups as well as the outliers well protected enroute by a range of SLSC paddlers, jet-skis and inflatable rescue boats (not to mention a drone overhead!).

With a relaxed atmosphere, a ‘not-too-cold, not-too-hot’ water temperature of about 21.5 degrees, a gentle swell and good visibility in the clean ocean water, it was always going to be a great experience – and it certainly was!

From the large field of competitors, the three Vikings logged results as below:

Place (category)


Nicolee Martin
Female 50-59
2 of 24


Nicolee Martin
Female – open
9 of 19


Al Byrne
Male 50-59
22 of 46


Petrina Quinn
Female 60-69
6 of 18


Petrina Quinn
Female – open
14 of 19


Extensive photo coverage of the event is now online.

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.