It was a perfect morning for the eigth Annual Hotondo Broulee Bay to Breakers Ocean Swim on Sunday. A record 413 entries were recorded for the 1.4 km Race from Shark Bay around the headland to South Broulee Beach.
Out on the water, Broulee Surf Life Saving Club members patrolled the course in a variety of watercraft as a done buzzed overhead.
For much of the race, the leaders were swimming 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. Second was John Fox (21:26) and third Harrison Biddell (21:27)
In the Women’s Open Race, Grace Hoitink came in first in a time of 20:12 minutes with Hayley Baker (20:55) second and Hannah Hobson (21:34) third.
In the over eighties, Alan Cameron swam a new record 38:23, and in the over sixties, Gordon Hughes recorded 22.30.
More course records were set by Katelyn McGreggor in the over twenties Female division with 22:13 minutes, and Georgie Caldwell with 20:17 minutes in the under sixteen Female.
In the Junior Ocean Swim of 500m records were broken in under twelves Male with Nathan Price recording 6:29 minutes, under tweleves Female Madison Amon 6:47 minutes, under fourteens Male Jack Caldwell 6:02 minutes, under fourteens Female Arusha Chew 7:18 minutes.
In the Hotondo Broulee Bay to Breakers Ocean Swim Make-a-Wish Team Challenge, the Vikings Team (John Fox, Gregg Smart, Guy Boland, Jeremy Mather) came in winners with a combined time of 88.11 minutes.
Second were Hotondo 1 (Billy Hughes, Cameron Dubios, Perry Wignall, Gordon Tweedie) in 95:11 minutes, followed by the Picton team (Anna Barnes, Susan Feigler, Pete Orchard, Glen Downey) in 95:45 minutes.
Broulee swimmer Wendy Dunn,79, was the oldest women to swim at this year’s Broulee to Breakers.
“I’ve been sick in bed all week and I nearly didn’t make it, I’m glad I did though, the conditions are perfect.” Mrs Dunn said.
Wendy has lived in Broulee for 20 years and swims every Sunday at the beach.
She says events like the breakers give her an incentive to keep fit. Wendy says she’ll be back next year.
Partial quadriplegic James Gribble who has swum five previous Broulee races was back in 2019. Gribble is a well known Sydney advocate for disability sports and disabled golf and adds such depth to the event.
Event organiser, Gary Pettigrove was overjoyed by the turnout.
“After 8 years, this is our biggest swim yet, there are 413 swimmers here today,” Mr Pettigrove said. “It was an ideal day for it with the water temp at a warm 21 degrees.”
It’s the first year Broulee to Breakers partnered with a charity to raise funds. Major sponsors Hotondo Homes chose the Make a Wish Foundation who’ll receive $8,000 thanks to the efforts of participants.
Broulee Surf Club will also receive a donation of $12,000.
At the presentations in the clubhouse, a number of swimmers who have completed the race five times were presented with their Bronze Dolphin shirts – a mark of respect and thanks from the Broulee community.
Content contributions from Elise Searson