Is located on Sydney Harbour on the north shore of Sydney, just down from Mosman.
It was an inauspicious start to the day with several days of heavy rain proceeding the Saturday. Vlad and Charm fended off a barrage of early morning texts asking if the swim was still on with the encouragement that the water was calm and relatively clear.
It was still with some trepidation that 12 or so brave swimmers stripped to their costumes in the pouring rain under the shelter of the tree next to Balmoral Bathers club, enviously eyeing up Charm in her full coat and colourful welly boots, and laughing at Vlad in his James Bond style neoprene top. A few new faces in the form of Mark “Huddo” Hudson and the 2 Anna’s boosted the numbers, as they prepared for their up-coming Southead RoughWater races in May.
The plan was to swim a slightly longer loop than the circuit used for the 5/10km time trial in December 2012. Swimmers would still do the initial 1.5km loop to the far east of Balmoral beach – turning right from the shore and heading past the rocky outcrop as far as the wooden pier before turning back to the start point. They would then continue swimming west and then north round to Chinaman’s Bay and back, approximately a 2km loop. At this point they’d be rewarded with a feed from the usual floating box arrangement close to shore in front of the Bathers club.
At first the water felt warm compared with the air temperature but it soon became apparent that there was a layer of very cold water at the surface that meant everyone swam at a fairly brisk pace from the outset. The group stayed together for the first loop, reconvening at the east end of Balmoral beach and again at Chinaman’s beach, always under the watchful eye of Vlad, who was accompanying in the kayak. After the first loop, a couple of splinter groups formed which swam together for the remaining time, with people variously completing another half, one or two loops. Towards the end of the swim the swell picked up and conditions became choppier, although unfortunately not much warmer, despite the cold surface layer disappearing as the water mixed up. Vlad had to admit defeat to the cold after the 2nd lap and supported from the beach as a few brave swimmers -Marty, Tori, Ben, Kae and Nicola - completed a 3rd lap, finishing 10-11km distance in around 3 and a quarter hours. Even the seasoned open water swimmers concluded that it was one of the harder swims at Balmoral given the cold water and air temperature and constant rain, that didn’t let up the whole morning. Everyone was very glad to get home for a hot shower to warm up
Details of swim:
GROUP 1: swim 1 hour
GROUP 2: up to 3 hours
What to bring: Vladswim club togs (if you have one), goggles and cap
Waiver form: No waiver no swim!
Water temperature: approx. 22 degrees Celsius
Weather forecast: windy with chance of shower, top of 20 degrees Celsius