Shark Island Swim and sponsor Channel 7

2007 Swim Report

posted: 11 March 2007

What fantastic conditions we had for the running of the 20th annual Shark Island Swim Challenge. The seas were very calm and the weather was perfect.

The Shark Island Swim Challenge events are only made possible by the efforts of a team of over 160 people comprising of club members, their families and their friends; members from Wanda, Elouera and North Cronulla Surf Clubs; volunteers from Surf Life Saving Sydney and Offshore 2; and Lifeguards from Sutherland Shire Council. And a better TEAM effort you will be hard pressed to find. The effort put in by the entire working team was the best ever and there are too many people to mention individually but I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to each and every one of you for your part in making the swim events so successful.

We had 645 entrants in the Shark Island Swim Challenge and 206 entrants in the Ocean Fun Swim. A total of 851 entrants.

The 1km Ocean Fun Swim was officially started by Alan Metti and Barry Tyte. Alan and Barry hold the remarkable record of having swum in every single one of our 20 Shark Island Swim Challenges – an amazing feat and worthy of the honour of being official starters for our Ocean Fun Swim. This event was fiercely contested by the 206 competitors who entered the swim with ages ranging from 10 to 69. The first male swimmer was Jan Celustka (12.25) and Amanda Plescan (12.33) was the first female swimmer across the line.

The 20th annual 2.3km Shark Island Swim Challenge was officially started by our Life Member and Patron, Bill Marshall. We had 645 competitors entered in this event and the lead changed several times in a very close race. Daniel McLellan made one of the best ever comebacks by winning this year’s swim, for the eighth time, in 27.13 minutes. Stephen Parkes (27.20) came in second and Andrew Beato (27.32) came in third. The results for the first three female swimmers to cross the line were Melissa Gorman (27.52) in first place, Kristyl Smith (29.19) in second place and Luan Rowe (29.21) in third place.

A special mention needs to be made again of Helen Evans, 75 years old, who completed the swim with a time of 48.41, and Georgene McKenzie-Hicks, 79 years old, who completed the swim with a time of 52.31, as well as John Kelso, 77 years old, who completed the swim in a time of 41.02. Bruce Baird with a time of 38.29 won the Bill Stafford Trophy for the best time in the 65 years and over age group.

It was a great swim by all competitors and we congratulate each and every one of you! We look forward to seeing you all again next year for the Cronulla Shark Island Swim Challenge to be held on Sunday, 16 March 2008.

I am pleased to announce that the events were again our biggest single fund raiser and added around $35,000 in net funds to the Club. These funds will be used in all avenues of Club activity over the ensuing year – not to mention the outstanding publicity the Club receives within our local and national community.

Our sponsors were again magnificent this year and their generosity in supporting our surf life saving activities is appreciated more than we can ever express to them.

Frank Doran from Financial Services Partners (Frank Doran Financial Services) of Miranda was again our Gold Sponsor, donating cash, plus the supply of the T-shirts for the working party. What an effort! This was the tenth consecutive time that Frank has been the major sponsor for our Shark Island Swim Challenge and to top it off Frank is one of the most active members of our organising committee – it would be very difficult to hold these events without Frank’s generous assistance – thanks Frank.

Our Silver Sponsors this year were: CommInsure (cash donation); Sydney Airport Corporation (cash donation); HPA and Ayman Moubarak who again designed, printed and mailed out our entry forms and result certificates; Eyeline/AH Pearce – who, through Shaun Ryan, have kindly donated the swim caps and prizes for the events for many years; and Caringbah Shopping Village (gift voucher and cash donations).

Our other sponsors also added significantly to the financial success of the events. These were – Pacific Ocean Swims (who donated air fares, plus 4 nights accommodation for two lucky swimmers in the Shark Island Swim Challenge to compete in the Fiji Ocean Swim and The Vanuatu Ocean Swim); Elite Personal Training and Sports Coaching who allowed competitors to use the Cronulla Sports Pavilion for change facilities, warm up, warm down; Coca Cola who donated Powerade for the competitors; GC Apparel who supplied the Shark Island T-shirts at greatly reduced prices; and Sutherland United Services Club.

I would also like to make mention of the unquestioning help and support provided by Sutherland Shire Council who regularly assist us through cleaning the beach and surrounding areas, plus Beach Operations Manager, Brad Whittaker, for making his team of Lifeguards, and their life saving equipment, available for water safety for these events. Your help and assistance is always greatly appreciated.

The courses for both events were perfectly set out, thanks to our early morning team of helpers and the Club’s IRB Section who arrived at 6.00 am to place more than 20 buoys and markers throughout both courses. These people, led by Richard Pinker and Daniel Wood, are always the first to start and the last to finish and certainly deserve a special mention for their selfless efforts.

This year we altered the layout of the 2.3km Shark Island Swim Challenge by adding an additional turning buoy on the last leg back to the beach and this allowed us to start the swim with 4 smaller waves, with 3 minutes gap between each wave. This resulted in swimmers being spread out over a larger distance and reduced the discomfort of swimming so close together, as experienced in previous years. We will continue to use and refine this practice in future years.

The organisation of the events was superb, the starts were clean and the water safety was second to none – for water safety we had the Offshore 2 Rescue Boat, 6 IRB’s (rubber duckies), 2 Rescue Water Craft (jet skis), a surf boat and dozens of skis, boards and individual swimmers all of whom are professionally qualified and proficient. Phil Hamilton was responsible for enrolling, controlling and co-ordinating the water safety activities and carried out his responsibilities exceptionally well.

Dr Robyn Jordan was our Honorary Doctor during the swims and professionally attended to a few swimmers requiring assistance. We are extremely grateful to Robyn for volunteering her services and helping to make this event one of the safest on the ocean swim calendar.

A big thank you also needs to be given to Rob Short and his team of helpers. Rob and his team set up the tents and fair stalls as well as the drink stations and then professionally handled the pre-swim registrations and apparel sales.

John Wilson and Ken O’Donnell and their team of men and women on the beach performed a strategic role in setting up and dismantling the new and improved start and finish areas and worked extremely well in record time.

Shirley O’Donnell and Jenny Pinker and their team of helpers were magnificent in managing our registrations on the day. Because of work being carried out in the Ballroom we used the Purcell Room for registrations, for the first time, and it flowed exceptionally well.

The processing of entries and results this year was absolutely fantastic – managed by Chris Stephenson and his wife June. Our thanks to Chris and the Cronulla Triathlon Club for allowing us to use their facilities for the online processing and updating of entrants – this saved us large amounts of time in reprocessing entries. The results for all swimmers in the Shark Island Swim Challenge were available at 12.30 pm. The presentations to the overall and age category winners commenced around 1.00 pm and were completed by 1.45 pm.

Thanks also to Greg Holland who professionally carried out the role of our announcer and MC; Col Elliott our event referee; Ryan Guthrie who designed the Shark Island T-shirts; Kate Guthrie (our official photographer) who took hundred of photos; and Jenny Pinker who put in many hours of work in the Club office organising the myriad of tasks and answering enquiries prior to and after the event.

Finally, I would like to express my enormous gratitude to the Shark Island Swim Committee who spent many hours throughout the year to organise and conduct these events – the committee members for 2006-2007 were: Frank Doran, Greg Hewett, Phil Hamilton, John Hollingdale, Ken O’Donnell, Richard Pinker, Rob Short, Chris Stephenson, Neil Swane, David Swingler and John Wilson. John Hollingdale, John Wilson and Greg Hewett are to be especially congratulated for their remarkable effort in serving on this Committee for 20 consecutive years – what an effort!

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