CONDITIONS were near-perfect for Sunday’s San Remo Channel Challenge, with 475 competitors recording blisteringly quick times.
All athletes made the 550-metre swim from the beach close to San Remo jetty over to Newhaven without assistance from Woolamai Beach SLSC volunteers and, as usual, a huge crowd lined the footpath side of the bridge, cheering competitors as they sprinted back towards the finish line in Marine Parade.
Melbourne athlete Mitchell Kibby was first across the line overall, clocking an impressive 11 minutes and 26 seconds in the Senior Male category.
Ben Anderson, the winner of the event in 2012-13, finished fourth overall with 11:56.
Edithvale triathlete Grace Deveson, racing in the Senior Female category, was the first woman across the line at 13:02.
In local categories, it was a repeat of last year with Luke Plant (12:56) and Chloe Butt (13:13) taking top honours as Local Senior Male and Female entrants.
One of the event’s organisers, Dennis Harris, said it was yet another memorable instalment of the challenge where everything ran smoothly.
“The crowds were slightly down a bit but it was a great day with a healthy number of competitors,” Dennis said.
Organisers were particularly pleased with the introduction of the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ – a race comprising of almost 30 Nippers who trained with the lifesaving club over the summer holidays.
The young participants started their race on the other side of the bridge 10 minutes before the first round of senior competitors took to the water.
Dennis said the contest between Nippers went extremely well and next year a small swim over at Newhaven may also be introduced as part of it.
As always, there was plenty to see and do at the challenge even for those with no interest in the race itself.
“All of our entertainment was terrific, including the aerobics display and fashion parade,” Dennis said.
“The female tug-of-war competition was won by Woolamai Beach SLSC and the team at San Remo Hotel won the male contest.
“Also, our hole-in-one competition was a great success and that was won by Jayms Leahy from Lang Lang Golf Club.
“He won a new set of clubs donated by Aussie Golf Ranch on Phillip Island.”
Next year’s Channel Challenge is set to be a corker, with organisers already planning for a big birthday bash.
“It’s going to be our 30th so we’ll be inviting past winners and organisers,” Dennis said.
A few special events a week or so before the race may also be announced.
Local Senior Male
1. Luke Plant 12:53
2. Mark Rowe 13:30
3. Bevan Van Agtmaal 13:46
Local Senior Female
1. Chloe Butt 13:13
2. Roxanne Shahtahmasebi 14:37
3. Katrina Bendtsen 16:06
Local Junior Male
1. Xavier Hughes 15:45
2. Surrey Fisher 15:49
3. Jack Taylor 17:55
Local Junior Female
1. Georgia Turner 15:24
2. Molly Edward 15:55
3. Olivia Turner 17:44
Local Male 40-49
1. Jim Corbett 14:18
2. Gavin Slavin 16:39
3. Kris Harris 16:55
Local Female 40-49
1. Andrea Olsen 17:23
2. Rachel Stafford 20:26
3. Jenny Hollins 21:43
Local Male 50+
1. Rob Fleisner 14:03
2. Phil Hanley 15:10
3. Peter Turner 16:12
Local Female 50+
1. Jenny Hibble 19:34
2. Sian Adnam 19:42
3. Jo Brusa 23:03.