28 February 2020

Broulee's Bay to Breakers is back in a big way

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Bay to Breakers

Last year’s Bay to Breakers race at Broulee was neck and neck until the end. Photo: Alex Rea.

Normal business has resumed at Broulee with the return of the 9th Hotondo Homes Broulee Bay to Breakers Ocean Swim on Sunday, 8 March.

“It’s a terrific community event, and a great way to get back to things we love about Broulee after such a difficult summer,” said swim coordinator Gary Pettigrove.

The 1.4 km open water swim course goes around from Broulee Island and the headland to south Broulee Beach, and has been described by organisers and competitors as “simply world-class”. Over 200 competitors are expected for the event after several years of record entries.

Often a close-run race, last year’s event was stroke for stroke, almost within touching distance. The first onto the beach in the open men’s race was James Thorp in a time of 20:13 minutes, followed by John Fox (21:26) and Harrison Biddell (21:27).

In the Women’s Open Race, Grace Hoitink came first with a time of 20:12 minutes with Hayley Baker (20:55) second and Hannah Hobson (21:34) third.

The 1.4 km swim categories for 2020 include Under-16, Under-20, Over-20, Over-30, Over-40, Over-50, Over-60, Over-70, Over-80, Multiclass and All Age Flipper Swim. There are also 500-metre swim divisions for Juniors.

Over the years, the race has attracted a diverse range of entrants including partial quadriplegic and disability sports advocate James Gribble who has swum five previous Broulee races. Swimmers who complete the race more than five times – like Gribble – are presented with their Bronze Dolphin shirts as a mark of respect and thanks from the Broulee community.

Last year, Alan Cameron swam a new record of 38:23 for the over-80s, and in the over-60s, Gordon Hughes completed the event in 22:30. The oldest woman to compete last year was Wendy Dunn at 79, who told About Regional at the time that she was planning to be back this year.

Prizes include $300 cash for open winners and $100 for the senior categories, but according to Gary, “everyone’s a winner because of the shared satisfaction of swimming in a particularly pretty bit of ocean with a nice mob of people”.

The Swim is jointly organised and run by the volunteers of Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Club and the Broulee Mossy Point Community Association. For details, including registration, visit Broulee Surfers SLSC.

Sponsors of the event include Hotondo Homes, Tomakin Sports and Social Club, Broulee Learn to Surf Surf School, Broulee Supermarket and Cellars, Offshore Surf Shop, The Lodge Broulee, fx Business Centre, Mogo Zoo, Bay Physiotherapy & Pilates, Woolworths Moruya, Vikings Group, TrusssworX, Key Sun Zinke, and Big 4 Holiday Parks.

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