Donaldson breaks Southern Ocean Classic Mile record on way to fourth victory in race, Murray claims first win

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
The start of the Sunsmart Southern Ocean Classic Mile in Denmark.
Camera IconThe start of the Sunsmart Southern Ocean Classic Mile in Denmark. Credit: Susan Hawson

Gun ocean swimmer Andrew Donaldson blitzed the field in Sunday’s Sunsmart Southern Ocean Classic Mile in Denmark breaking the record and claiming his fourth victory in the race.

Donaldson finished second in Saturday’s Albany Harbour Swim but showed his class to bounce back and take out the second ocean swim in the region for the weekend.

He won the 2021 Rottnest Channel Swim earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Albany’s Christine Murray won both of the Great Southern’s ocean swims in the female category over the Easter long weekend, securing her first Sunsmart Southern Ocean Mile a day after her victory in the Albany Harbour Swim.

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A record number of more than 150 swimmers took to the water in the 14th edition of the race.

Donaldson took on the challenging swells and finished in an impressive time of 17min.53sec, well ahead of runner-up Max Coten.

First male Andrew Donaldson coming out of the water.
Camera IconFirst male Andrew Donaldson coming out of the water. Credit: Susan Hawson

The day before, he had come a close second to Coten in the Albany Harbour Swim, but he got his redemption in Denmark.

Coten finished in second place with a time of 18.43.

Paul Laver was close behind in third in 18.50, while Troy Santen (21.30) and Paul Blackbeard (21.50) rounded out the top five.

“It had been a few years since I was last in Denmark so to be able to come back and be involved in the swim and win meant a lot as it’s my all-time favourite open water swim and I love this part of the world,” Donaldson said.

“The big swell and surf on the day made for challenging yet very fun conditions and I was able to use experience to navigate the course well.

“At the end, I was chuffed to catch a great wave from out the back to take me right up to the finish line.”

Female winner Christine Murray.
Camera IconFemale winner Christine Murray. Credit: Susan Hawson

Murray finished the course in 22.54 to be the first female out of the water ahead of Nicole Hodgson (24.14).

The young gun had only competed in the swim once before placing third, but she was able to back up her win in Saturday’s Albany Harbour Swim.

Emily Chetwin (25.37) was the third female out of the water followed by Penny Regan (27.06) and Elinor Webster (27.16).

“It’s such a wonderful event and even when the conditions prove to be a challenge, it’s such an invigorating race and I love getting in the ocean to put myself to the test,” Murray said.

“To be honest I found it really fun to swim, there’s something energising about swimming in a bit of rough ocean, especially when the water is still so clear and blue.

“Swimming out there really makes you appreciate how lucky we are to live on the coast of WA.

“I was pretty happy with my results, although I’m not really in it to beat anyone other than myself.”

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