With the tide running quickly in the Upper Spencer Gulf, the return swimming trek underneath the old Port Augusta train bridge, vehicle traffic bridge and back along the Port Augusta Warf to the starting point on the pontoon in front of the Port Augusta Yacht Club, was challenging to say the least. In the words of one of the competitors "It was like swimming on a treadmill". The water temperature was pleasant and wind conditions favourable for the annual 1800m Port Augusta Long Swim hosted by the Port Augusta Swimming Club following their Open Carnival on the day prior. Three brave members of the West Coast Swimming Club participated in the event; Brooke Traeger, Sonia and Tommy Ford. Congratulations on a magnificent swim from Brooke, taking out the fastest female prize in 28minutes and 24 seconds finishing second over the line. Tommy Ford (11 years) also showed he has the courage to brave the open ocean swimming events finishing in 35minutes and 27 seconds; a clear 2 minutes in front of his somewhat embarrassed mother and open water veteran, Sonia Ford (37.12). The oldest competitor on the day was 80 year old Port Augusta Swimming Club member Gerald Kirkham who competed in his 55th event - finishing the race in 45minutes and 18 seconds.
Open water swimming takes place in outdoor bodies of water such as open oceans, bays, lakes, rivers or reservoirs. The equipment allowed in a race depends on the race organizers. For example, races may have divisions for wetsuits and/or relays; may require escort boats or kayakers; and may require specifically coloured swim caps. Swimming South Australia has a significant number of sanctioned open water events which are tackled by swimmers of all ages. The Port Lincoln Triathlon Club also holds regular events involving swimming in open water. More information can be found at:
Author - Sonia Ford
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