Snowy Mountains Life Saving Energy Big Swim 19/2/2011

Lindsey Wall at the end of a very tough 7km swimParticipants in The Snowy Mountains Life Saving Energy Swims were faced with high winds and large waves on Saturday. The 7.2km Big Swim from Kalkite to Jindabyne went ahead, although two relay teams of local youngsters understandably decided against taking on such challenging conditions. Fortunately, the northerly wind was almost directly behind the swimmers, and all 9 solo entrants and one relay team reached the finish at Banjo Paterson Park in less than 2 ½ hours. A couple of support paddlers commented that they had to back paddle for much of the way so as not to get blown ahead!

Berridale triathlete Lindsey Wall took advantage of the tail wind to be first home in 1:34, bettering his winning time from last year by some 7 minutes. Corey Dimmer from Bateman?s Bay came in 3 minutes later.

Sixteen year old Annabelle Van Weel from Jindabyne, was the first female, first junior and third overall finisher in 1:55, a mighty effort in what must have been intimidating conditions for a teenager doing her first open water distance swim. She said that despite the waves, the swim was easier than she had expected. She was ?kind of shocked? to be the first woman finisher and is already ?super-excited? about next year?s swim.

NSW member for Monaro, Steve Whan, made an impressive return to the longer distance, finishing 4th overall and 3rd male. He was followed by local all round endurance athlete and multiple Winter Olympian Carla Zijlstra, who was also making her first attempt over 7.2km.

The Greg Cox Swim Squad team of Peta Cox (17years), Beth Dixon (16years), sisters Annabelle, Molly and Sophie Nicholls (aged 17, 14 and 12) and Mum Katrina Nicholls, was the first and only team to finish ? again a very good effort from a (mostly!) young group of swimmers.

Other notable efforts were Cooma GP, Dr Brian Tugwell, who finished the swim despite becoming seasick in the choppy conditions, and Ann Herbet from Wapengo, who at 63 years of age, showed that age is not necessarily a barrier to taking on a physical challenge!

By the time the Strzelecki Dash got underway at 12:30, the howling wind was accompanied by driving rain. Twenty three swimmers aged from as young as 11 up to several ?more mature? citizens, took to the water. The strong cross winds made swimming quite hard work, and one participant became so seasick that he had to get out and walk!

Brendan Wall made it a family affair by coming in first in 22 minutes and 22 seconds, closely followed by Cameron Fraser, 18, from East Jindabyne. Zoe Castle, 16, was the first female and 3rd overall. Twelve year old Liam Burton, showed what a versatile young talent he is by finishing 4th – not bad considering the waves were almost bigger than he is! Jodie Old and Carley Porter, both of Jindabyne, were 2nd and 3rd women, as well as 5th and 6th overall.

The 100m Little Swim was cancelled due to the inclement conditions.

The amount of money raised towards solar installations on local Rural Fire Service Sheds will not be known for a week or two as some swimmers? sponsorship money is yet to come in.

Clean Energy For Eternity would like to thank everyone who supported this event: the Snowy River SES, Dr Michelle Mcfarland, Jindabyne Equipment Hire, Van Glen Services, Banjo Paterson Inn, Wild Brumby Distillery, Synergy Massage, High Country Fitness, Alpine Beginnings, The Spa at Lake Crackenback, Little Outlaws, Lifestyle, Cooma Health and Bulk Foods, and Leading Edge Video Jindabyne, plus all of the swimmers and paddlers, and their sponsors who took part in this year?s event ? the memories should last for some time!

For more information, please contact Kate Greenwood on 0429 645714

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