Balnagowan Open Water Swim 2021
The North Mackay Sinkers Masters Swimming Club hosted its annual Balnagowan open water swim on Sunday November 7th, 2021. After the 2020 was cancelled along with other sporting events due to Covid-19 impacts, it was a welcome return to the calendar for Mackay and Regional swimmers.
Over 50 participants from Townsville and west of Mackay registered for the swims across the 3 three available distances which was a great response for organisers. After a safety and course briefing the 5km “King & Queen” of the river event was underway at 710am followed by the 2.5km event and the popular “anything goes” 1.25 km. This shorter distance is suitable for new open water swim participants and swim devices including flippers and floats are allowed to encourage participants.
We were fortunate to welcome the Masters Swimming Qld president Mrs Cheryl Brodribb to officiate over the course as well as promote the benefits of swimming and joining masters to keep fit and possibly compete in events such as the Masters State Titles, GBR games and similar events for the keen.
This year’s conditions were perfect with little to no breeze, a water temperature around 26 degrees and new large buoys to mark the course for swimmers. On water safety provided by club members included several kayaks and a speed boat to ensure swimmers were well looked after should fatigue or cramps become an issue.
Results saw new swimmers stepping up to claim the 5 km King and Queen titles. The new King, Nigel Dalton completing the course in 1 hour 27 minutes with runner up Neil Blinco close behind to secure 2nd and Greg Born the defending champion in 3rd place.
This year’s Queen, Sam Sticklan also claimed line honours in a great time of 1 hour 22 minutes followed by Jody Walker in second place and fast finishing Katherine Parrish placing 3rd.
Other results were:
2.5km Male: John Barret – 1st, Andrew Evetts – 2nd and Kerry Royes 3rd
2.5km Female: Linda Single – 1st, Karen Chandler – 2nd & Dee McMurtrie 3rd.
1.25km Male: Paul Arvidson – 1st, Hans Binnekamp – 2nd & Steve Burchill 3rd.
1.25km Female: Jose Short – 1st, Amelia Tatnell – 2nd & Sue Willett 3rd.
The swim is to be held again next year on Sunday 6th November 2022 and is always the first Sunday of the month and precedes the ocean swim at Hamilton Island so proves a great hit out for swimmers. Several improvements are on the cards following the introduction this year of the larger visible buoys including the possibility of electronic timing.
The Sinkers will also be holding the popular short course meet on February 26th 2022 which will also be available for non-masters swimmers to enter and participate in.
The North Mackay Sinkers have adult (18+) squad sessions each Monday & Wednesday from 545-645pm at the Mackay North State high school pool facility in Valley Street and welcome non-members for trial periods. (Contact 0413 805 156)
The Sinkers would like to thank the Masters Swimming Qld president, Mackay Rowing club, volunteers, organisers and swimmers for making this local event possible.