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Jimbo
August 28th, 2005, 11:26 PM
Hi all

Just a quick post to say hello from Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia (Victoria is south of Sydney/NSW). Have enjoyed reading the various threads and dsicussion - thought I should contribute something. . .

A few random points for your info & discussion.

- Open water races in Victoria are mainly ocean swims. There's the occasional swim down a river or in a pond somewhere inland but the majority of open water chaos takes place offshore;

- Wetsuits are basically standard for all Victorian swims. They are not mandatory but you will look like an albino seal if you don't wear one. Not sure why the westuit culture is so pervasive - tempratures can get a bit cold but nothing too extreme. Might be a conspiracy by the wetsuit manufacturers/sponsors etc.
Ocean swims in NSW seem to be the complete opposite where "nude" swimming (so to speak) is standard and westuit wearers are generally not eligible for prizes. Needless to say us Victorians are considered utter wimps by our NSW cousins.

- Most swims are the same distance - 1.2 kilometres. The biggest and oldest swim "Pier to Pub" is 1.2km and numerous other swims seem to have just adopted this distance as standard. One advantage is that the relatively short distance (and wetsuits) makes it quite attractive for swimmers who aren't very confident; in fact the Pier to Pub attracts 4,000 swimmers each year (a world record to the best of my knowledge), the scary thing is it would actually be even bigger if the let it (ie it sells out about a month beforehand).
There are some longer swims (between 2 and 4km) but they are few and far between. There was a new swim last season that was 12km long called "The bloody big swim" (must have taken them hours to think of that name).
Is there anything like a standard distance in US open water races? (my impression is not).

Overall the sport seems to be gaining popularity and seems to increase every time the Australian swim team brings home another swag of medals (just had to get that in).

F'ueco
August 29th, 2005, 12:50 AM
I like the idea of swimming to a pub. :)

Matt S
August 29th, 2005, 01:50 PM
Jimbo,

Greetings right back at you. I had the pleasure of competing in the 99 Pan Pac Masters in Perth. That was a special meet just by itself. Moreover, the highlight for me was the 3K open water swim (off of Rottnest Island) in country that truly understands and appreciates open water swimming. Whenever I do any open water swimming in the company of Aussies, I feel like a kid in the playground invited to play ball with the big leaguers.

We have some interesting events here in the States. Just a couple of weeks ago I swam in the Wingshadow 10K at Ft. Collins, Colorado. Yes, you read that correctly. 10K swim in a fresh water lake at 7000 feet (approx 2K) of altitude. Let me tell you that is one LOONNNGGGG swim. In a couple of weeks, we'll be having the Big Shoulders races here in Chicago, just off of Navy Pier, 5K and 2.5K. The shorter race is the designated USMS National Championship event for that distance.

Hope you can come over to our side of the Pacific some time and show us how it's done down under.

Matt