Unseasonably cold water did not deter large fields from lining up for the annual Yamba Ocean Swims run by Yamba Surf Life Saving Club last Sunday. With 245 swimmers contesting the 700 metre Convent Beach to Main Beach swim and 187 contesting the longer 2km swim over a rectangular course off Main Beach.
Last years 700 metre winner Lachlan Walker (aged 16) from Alstonville was the star of the day scoring easy wins in both the male 700 metre and 2km swims.
Walker won the 700 metre swim in a time of 8mins 36secs from Joseph Hamson of Muswellbrook in a time of 9mins 1.4secs and Joseph Lampe of Lennox Head in 9mins 1.7secs.
In the 2km swim Walker, with a time of 26mins 30secs finished a minute ahead of placegetters Tyler Krenkels of Allambie Heights and Will McDonagh of Wahroonga.
Krenkels and McDonagh were part of a team of 30 swimmers from Knox Grammar School that contested the event. The school swimming team is currently undertaking a five day training camp at Lake Ainsworth Sport & Recreation Camp.
In the female events 14 year old Yamba SLSC club member Kalani Ives won the 700 metre swim from Margaret McConnachie (14) of Boambee and Madeline Ewing (14) of Lismore. In the 2km swim Ives finished runner up to Piper Sanderson (16) from Brisbane with Ewing again in 3rd place.
The dash for cash events saw Margaret McConnachie win the female race and in the men’s race Alan Dunn of Wooloweyah came from behind on a wave to grab the lead and despite falling twice in the run out of the water he was still able to claim the $100 first prize.
In a generous gesture Dunn donated the money to the Wooloweyah Rural Fire Brigade.
Local swimmers to win their age group in the 700 metre events were Gus Gilbert in the 10-14 years division in a time of 9.51; Lindsey Wall in the 30-39 years in 9.07; Ray Killen in the Over 70 years in 16.31; Kate Armstrong in the 40-49 years in 12.24; and Judith King in the over 70 years in 17.38.
In the 2km event local swimmers to claim age group victories were Hugh Dougherty in the 30-39 years in a time of 27.43; Joe Dougherty in the 40-49 years in 28.50; Morgen Parkin in the female 15-19 years in 37.35; and Kate Armstrong in the 40-45 years in 36.03.
Race organiser Jim Dougherty thanked the large volunteer workforce of club members and supporters who made the day such a success and in particular the water safety team who were kept busy supporting swimmers affected by the cold water.