2023 New Year’s Eve Swim

Over 120 swimmers took part this year in the annual New Years Eve Swim on December 31 at Middleton Beach – an impressive turnout considering the less than ideal conditions!  This is a popular and mainstay event for many locals, clubbies and visitors from around the state and country, and could not be run without the efforts and supreme teamwork of Albany SLSC volunteers, and the ongoing support of local legends Mason Realty and South Coast Insurance Brokers.  A huge thankyou to all involved!

With our favourite sou-easterly wind persisting overnight and into the morning, organisers and swimmers alike were faced with the tough decision of what distance to carry on with!  Many pressing on with their selected challenge, and some choosing a last-minute trim down, the consensus coming out the water …‘it wasn’t that bad after all’, in fact, even a bit of fun bashing (or gliding) through the oncoming wind chop to the deep of the point, into and across the drifting currents, or rollercoasting downwind on wave runners to the nor west turn.  And what would be a presentation without a bit of south coast rain anyway … yes it was a refreshingly quick prize run thanks to the quick thinking and fast-talking efforts of Race Director Rob Mason, ably supported by Presidential and AV technical services provided by Carl Richardson. 

The supreme dedication of our never-resting water safety and lifesaving team was also on display during proceedings, as Patrol Captain extraordinaire Richard Langston – not even sweating despite the exertions of maintaining a patrol on top of the ever-growing job list barked out by Event Water Safety coordinator Dani Lynch – attempted to breach the huddled crowd in his SSV in search of his favoured beach ramp and waiting RWC armada.  A few were horrified and refused to budge, arms crossed in defiance and eyes locked on the sideways glance of the Race Director, most simply looked on in awe … now that is focus, that is an efficient pack up.  Bravo Richo.  This followed a smooth and typically brilliant job from the IRB drivers and crew, RWC top gun academy, specialist big-wave rescue board crew, and the day-before course setting services of Jim Bob Morcom.  Now onto the …

500m Open Female – Eliza Kavanagh 09:50.1
500m Open Male – Liam Guthrie 09:21.9
500m Youth Female – Kaia Moloney 08:50.9
500m Youth Male – Jack Rowe 08:55.6
1.5km Open Female – Amy Felton 28:59.0
1.5km Open Female (W) – Dana Neuman 27:04.3
1.5km Open Male – Josh Ellett 24.31.3
1.5km Youth Female – Sophia Riddell 29.01.1
1.5km Youth Male – Pablo (Paul) Sleeman 37:03.4

3km Open Female – Emma Warburton 45:24.4
3km Open Male – Adam Sudlow 36.04.6
Newcomer to the Middleton swim scene Eliza Kavanagh made waves in the 500m open female swim and managed to beat out new club member Helen Morris (see you in the 1.5km next year Eliza!), as did local swimmer Liam Guthrie in the open male swim (likewise vying for a distance upgrade) – great swim guys!  In the youth age group, Coogee Beach’s Kaia Moloney took out the top female prize, closely followed by best placed male finisher and hailing from neighbouring Mt Barker, Jack Rowe.  

First lady over the line and winner of the wetsuit division in the 1.5km was our very own Dana Neummann in a blistering time of 27:04.3 – closely followed by local training partner and super-fish Kylie Outhwaite in 27:14.2, with club legend Beth Hearle (29:00.2) missing out on the open women’s title by the narrowest of margins to Scarboro SLSC’s Amy Felton (28:59.0).  What a finish!  A minute behind and never far from the podium, powerhouse pair Lisa Symmans and Sally Moir finished strongly, rounding out a strong club field also consisting Caroline Tompkin, Jenny Jay, Ava Marmion and Joslyn Pass.   

Visiting Josh Ellett was too strong for the rest of the field in the men’s 1.5km race, beating out a determined local crop consisting Ken Willis (another Dana protégé and future clubby-to-be), our very own Oli Pass (sensibly opting out of another tiring 3k battle with dad Col), along with Carl Richardson, Peter Gray and Jeff Morris, and having a well-deserved year off the volunteer event team, Masters WA’s Jim Bolger.  

In the two-lap 1.5km Youth category the club was well represented by winner Sophia Riddell (congratulations Sophia!), in front of finisher (and still Nipper!) Mahayla Smithers, with Youthie Jordan Berkelaar finishing second to Denmark’s Pablo Sleeman – great going in tough conditions guys!  

Bunbury’s Emma Warburton just managed to elude a fast-finishing Coco Smargiassi in the long distance 3km event – a great battle held over 45 exhausting minutes which saw the pair stray no further than 50m from each other – trailed by very strong swims from Albany SLSC’s Dannika Barras, Chris Ficko, Kirsten O’Brien and new convert Claire Boujos.  

In the men’s 3km, North Cottelsoe’s Adam Sudlow blew the field away in a head-scratching time of 36:04.6 – and this should have us scrambling for the record books (watch this space!) having achieved an astounding overall average pace of 1:12/100m!!  A recent local training blitz from Alex Gunnell paid off with a second place finish and a very handy time, beating out local fish Craig Fuller, an inspired performance by Collin Pass (rounding out a very tidy family effort for the day), and swims by local stalwarts Mark Zafir, Adrian Nicoll and Bruce Wilson.  Special mention to club youthie Mitchell Loverock for braving the conditions and completing the swim with guts and good humour – Mitch holds the honour of being the youngest swimmer of the day out on the long course!
Full results available at: Albany NYE Swim, 31/12/2023 : : my.race|result (raceresult.com)