6th Annual Open Water Swim Event a great success!

Local annual Open Water Swim goes ahead in line with restrictions. 219 swimmers from 40 NSW swim clubs turned out in force on Saturday for the sixth annual Nepean Aquatic Centre Open Water Swim at Sydney International Regatta Centre, Penrith.

Last year’s event saw 510 swimmers from 52 clubs compete for over $4500, but this year the emphasis was simply on giving the athletes a chance to swim. Due to the covid pandemic restrictions the event was this year limited to just 500 people including competitors, spectators, and officials. Despite organisers being given just two weeks to pull the event together, all went smoothly on the day. Many grateful competitors were given the opportunity to compete and achieve qualifying times needed for upcoming NSW State and Australian Championships after a season of cancelled events this year affording very few opportunities to do so.

Made up of just 2 events this year, (down from the usual 4), the 1km wetsuit and 1km swims were not offered due to restrictions on overall numbers. Instead the event focused on the 2.5km and 5km events, to maximise swimmers’ chances of obtaining qualifying times. The weather was overcast with drizzling rain and a few strong gusts of wind, but the atmosphere was buoyant, with everyone just happy to be at a competitive event. It was a scene we could not have imagined a year ago, with volunteers in masks, aprons and gloves cleaning all competitors skin with antiseptic wipes prior to them being stamped with their numbers, and social distancing in full effect.

As in previous years, water safety was top of mind, with 6 boats and 6 kayaks out on the water with the swimmers to ensure everyone had a safe race, and officials watching keenly from the tower. The emphasis on water safety was underscored by the fact that the event was held ten years to the day since American Open Water swimmer, Fran Crippen, died during an open water swimming race in the United Arab Emirates in 2010 at the age of 26.

Race Organiser Alan Bentley said “Organising this year’s event in less than 2 weeks against the backdrop of Covid restrictions presented an enormous challenge, but the messages of support and thanks we have received from swimmers and clubs across the state has made it worth it many times over. The entire mood of the meet was positive and encouraging, and we are humbled by the way the local and swimming community pulled together with very little notice to make this event happen. Swimming in this region has
received many setbacks this year, but the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to this event proves that the sport is still very healthy”.

Bentley added, “We would like to thank all of the technical officials from Swimming Metro Southwest who gave up their time on Saturday. Huge thanks also go to all of the volunteers who filled the roles of race check in clerks, stamping numbers, paddling kayaks for water safety, judging & timekeeping, helping hand out water to the competitors, presentation, setup & pack up. Without all of these people we would not be able to run the event”.

Full List of Results:
Official results now also posted on the Nepean Aquatic Centre Swim Club website under the “open water events” tab.

• Men’s 5km
o 1st Mathew Galea (18) (SOPAC Swim Team)
o 2nd Oliver Spanton (19) (Monte Swimming Club)
o 3rd Logn Kaye (18) (Manly Swimming Club)

• Women’s 5km
o 1st Tiffany Walsh (16) (Narrabeen Swimming Club)
o 2nd Georgia Platts (17) (SOPAC Swim Club)
o 3rd Averil Jones (16) (Hunter SC)

• Men’s 2.5km
o 1st Jack Breasley(15) (Hunter SC)
o 2nd Layke Shipley (13) (Wests Illawarra Aquatic SC)
o 3rd John Higgins (15) (Blacktown City Asc)

• Women’s 2.5km
o 1st Gem Crittenden (14) (Hunter SC)
o 2nd Evie Lucas (12) (Valley Aquatic Club)
o 3rd Olivia Galea (10) (Blacktown City Asc)