By John Hicks
Some things change and some stay the same. Gorgeous autumn conditions -sunny, a light breeze, and clean, warm (23 degrees) water - along with an impressive number of swimmers (386) and a lovely community spirit made for a terrific 10th Hotondo Homes Broulee Bay to Breakers Ocean Swim according to Broulee Surfers Surf Lifesaving Club President Gary Pettigrove.
"Great that we could go ahead with the swim, after such a difficult year,"
said Gary. "We switched the course to an out and back one in North Broulee Bay where conditions were more benign than usual southerly route which was being pounded by a solid 4m swell and we introduced COVID safe changes, like starting swimmers in smaller waves. But the long standing good vibes of a fun swim in a beautiful spot with wonderful community engagement were still present."
Broulee locals did well. Peter Halpin won the over 70s, and Wendy Dunn had the over 80s to herself. Ross and Roz Hayward’s grandchildren came first in the under 12 and under 14 boys’ races.
Canberra couple James Thorpe and Grace Hoitink won their open divisions for the third year in a row.
A tussle in the under 12 girls resulted in a dead heat for Annika Thorne and Rosie McPartland and in the under 14 girls Sofia Szymanski and Zara Turner were hard to separate on the line.
The Gribbles were there in force. James Gribble, who became a quadriplegic in an accident in Zambia in 2008, was doing his 7th swim along with a huge mob of well fed supporters - his father Roger had hosted 71 for dinner the previous night at his Broulee home and was getting ready for around 80 for brunch after the swim. Most of James’s mates had travelled from Sydney for the event and many were contributors to his Puffin Magic Foundation. James finished his swim in 56 minutes, a Broulee record for him.
Rivalries resumed in the Dunn family from Canberra with Charlotte just failing for the fifth time to beat her dad Vincent. "I'm getting closer" said Charlotte, "and he's getting older, perhaps next year". But she cleaned up younger brother Oliver.
Gary Pettigrove praised the volunteers who ran the event so efficiently and thanked the sponsors - Hotondo Homes (the major sponsor), Broulee Supermarket and Cellars, Sea Change Physiotherapy, FX Printing,Tomakin Sports and Social Club, One sport.com.au', Woolworths Moruya and Batemans Bay.
The winners were
Age Division Name Time mm:ss
Open Male James Thorp 17:43
Open Female Grace Hoitink 18:08
Over 80 Female Wendy Dunn 39:02
Over 70 Male Peter Halpin 28:01
Over 70 Female Roz Odgers 34:56
Over 60 Male Gordon Hughes 21:29
Over 60 Female Jane McCallum 20:46
Over 50 Male John Fox 18:14
Over 50 Female Caroline Makin 22:05
Over 40 Male Michael Harding 18:34
Over 40 Female Anna Barnes 20:24
Over 30 Male Benjamin Schwessinger 22:18
Over 30 Female Danielle Feigler 22:16
Over 20 Male Callum McClusky 17:14
Over 20 Female Laura Van Den Honert 21:09
Under 20 Male Kami Schmutz 21:38
Under 20 Female Sierra Chew 24:09
Under 16 Male James Wilkinson 20:33
Under 16 Female Nina Thorne 20:34
Under 14 Male Hugo Hayward 4:10
Under 14 Female Sofia Szymanski 5:23
Under 12 Male Louis Hayward 7:31
Under 12 Female Annika Thorne, Rosie McPartland 6:55 (tie)
Flippers female Susan Vogel 29:58
Novice Female Kym Treharne 7:33