A RECORD 183 competitors were blessed by benign and beautiful conditions at the second Hotondo Homes Broulee to Breakers Ocean Swim on Sunday, March 10. Starting from the somewhat menacingly named Shark Bay, the swimmers cruised past Broulee Headland aided by a gentle following northerly wind before turning towards the Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Club and navigating an almost imperceptible 15cm shorebreak to complete the 1.4km swim in front of enthusiastic welcoming crowd.
One competitor later confessed that she swam a little too exuberantly to exit Shark Bay, “I couldn’t quite convince myself that it was named after a person called Mr Shark rather than the swimming type with teeth.”
Competition was keen in the 17 race categories with eight race records smashed. Dillon Applequist of Canberra won the open men’s for the second year in a row but not without an epic stroke for stroke struggle with Graham Miller of Kiama Downs over the last 400m. Simone Elliot of Rosedale had an easier time of it winning the open female section.
Some participants had modest ambitions “crossing the finish line breathing and with a pulse” was one mentioned. Others were more ambitious. Helen Okey of Potato Point was spurred on by a desire not to be beaten by her 15-years older sister-in-law Pauline Hicks of Broulee (something she did but only by 30 seconds).
Father and son Andrew and David Bain of Broulee pretended they were not competing against each other “we actually not going head to head” explained father Andrew, “different age categories”. But David was forthcoming with advice for next year “I think he should wear flippers”.
A youthful looking Wendy Dunn of Broulee won the female over 70s in a respectable time of 35 minutes. She attributed her success to repetitive swims across Shark Bay – “the name keeps the crowds at bay” - and to the inspiration she derives from Live Saving Club members in their regular Sunday morning handicap swim at Broulee.
Many participants commented on how smoothly the arrangements for the event went. Swim coordinator Gary Pettigrove was pleased. “We had over 180 sharing their enjoyment of the ocean through the fun and challenge of joining in a community fitness event. Lots of volunteers efficiently helped and local businesses were generous with their sponsorship. A great day all round.”
Broulee Community Association’s Lynn Bain was also delighted. “It had such a wonderful community feel about it with two local organisations collaborating so closely to stage it.”
The $6000 raised will be shared by the Broulee Surfers Life Saving Club and the Broulee/Mossy Point Community Association.