Close to 100 swimmers brave trying conditions to compete in the New Year’s Eve swim

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
Swimmers enter the water at Middleton Beach to start the New Years Eve swim.
Camera IconSwimmers enter the water at Middleton Beach to start the New Years Eve swim.

Trying conditions greeted just under 100 swimmers for the fourth edition of the New Year’s Eve swim, run by the Albany Surf Life Saving Club at Middleton Beach.

A total of 90 competitors took part, down on the 144 last year, with local and visiting swimmers entering across distances of 500m, 1.25km and 2.5km last Thursday.

Due to strong winds and bigger surf than usual, some alterations were made to the event and courses.

The 5km swim was called off and those swimmers took part in the 2.5km swim while a lot of the swimmers who had nominated for the 2.5km swim dropped back to the 1.25km swim because of the tough conditions.

A beach start was also used instead of the traditional deep water start while the short course swim inside the shark net was adjusted as well.

Paul Newsone was the first swimmer to exit the water in the 2.5km race, winning the male division in 40min. 6.38sec.

Jake Shephard finished second in the race narrowly behind Newsone in a time of 40:56.12 while Emmanuel Sandino filled third.

Eighteen-year-old Neave Healey took out the female category in the 2.5km swim, finishing in a time of 51:18.96 to defeat Beth Hearle who was second with a time of 52:34.95 while Jonel Boonzaaier finished third.

Short course competitors.
Camera IconShort course competitors.

Other division winners were Ned Shephard (male senior 1.25km), Dana Neumann (female senior 1.25km), Zeb Campbell (male junior 1.25km), Samuel Burke ( male senior 500m), Anna Spears (female senior 500m) Creed Shephard (male junior 500m) and Holly De Jonge (female junior 500m). De Jonge won her category for the second year in a row.

The 2.5km race attracted the most swimmers with 40 taking part, while the 1.25km swim had 36 and 14 did the 500m swim.

Event organiser Rob Mason said the event was a huge success despite the difficult conditions.

“We were pleasantly surprised with the numbers given the conditions,” he said.

“It was fantastic to have just under 100 swimmers.

“The night before we were ready to set the course but weren’t able because of the conditions and we scrapped the 5km event because of the conditions.

“It looked fairly likely that the event was going to be cancelled but we made that call in the morning, the conditions weren’t perfect but a little better.

“All the competitors should be happy with their efforts and it was a good event.”

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