Grove’s swim success

Youngsters compete in the 400m Optus Junior Novice event at the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club Ocean Open Water Swim. Picture: Mark Heenan Media 177150

By Mark Heenan

Scorching heat and a strong turnout greeted competitors for the second Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club Ocean Open Water Swim Festival on Sunday.
Ocean Grove SLSC president David Pavia said the club fundraiser attracted around 500 participants with temperatures hitting 38 degrees which followed the success of last summer’s inaugural swim.
“The feedback was very positive – we had a lot of competitors say that they really loved the course,” Pavia said.
“Everyone would agree it was a bit warm, but the club took special precautions all along the way providing extra shade and lots of water for both participants and also all the organisers as well.”
Pavia said the collaboration with the Queenscliff180 Family Swim, held a day earlier, helped attract a wider Melbourne based audience with the Australia Day long weekend on the Bellarine.
A higher tide was on hand with the Sunday morning race start though the hot weather and cool water temperatures made it ideal for ocean swim competitors.
“It was really nice people could come down on the Bellarine Peninsula and enjoy two swims on the one weekend,” Pavia said.
“We did have quite a few people who competed at Mount Martha on Friday as well on the Mornington Peninsula and backed up both Saturday and Sunday doing swims.”
Former Ocean Grove SLSC patrolling member and club nipper Alexandra Brown won the 1.2km Classic Swim Open Female Category in a time of 17:42.
Brown, 29, the older sister of World Ironwoman champion and a former Ocean Grove SLSC competitor Harriet Brown, said it was nice to compete for the first time at a location where she commenced her surf life saving.
“I do triathlons and last year I was up in Canberra on this weekend and I could not get back in time,” Brown said.
“It is one event I was always thinking as a kid I would love to do an open water swim here because it is such beautiful open water beach.”
Melbourne-based Kelly Stubbins won two 1km swims. Her first was at the Queenscliff180 Family Swim a day earlier and she was the second female across the finish line in 18:17.
James Mace, the race winner of Queenscliff180 Family Swim on 27 January, won in 16:54 ahead of Darius Schultz in 17:11 in the 1.2 km Classic Open Male Category.
Ocean Grove SLSC competitor James Paterson (17:20) finished third and was the Under 18 race winner.
Lisandra De Carvalho won the 2.5 km Classic swim in 31:03, while Harry Charlesworth won the 400m Junior/Novice Swim in 08:07.