Coogee bay, one of the best swims you can do, and even better in autumn.

Geek reaches 240km

Kiwis, Sandgropers scramble over tallies

It will surprise no-one, but it still will amaze many, that Kiwi geek, Mike Cochrane (above and right), has reached 239.1km in distance swum in formal events over the course of this season. As Cochrane's nearest rival is over 100km behind, it's probably safe to predict that he will win this season's fine ocean swimmers tallies.

The really remarkable aspect of this season's tallies, also, is that there is, as at the end of March, only three swimmers from NSW in the Top 100.

cochrane mike 04With two months of swims to go – two Easter swims have just been rescheduled to May due to sea conditions last weekend – we have two full months of swims to go in NSW, so those figures will change a little.

Even so, with around 30km of formal swims available in NSW over those two months, only two swimmers from that state can finish in the top 15. They are Jim Donaldson and a former tallies winner, Richard Murray, currently 400m apart on 101.2km and 100.8km.

This will be a shattering blow to the egos of NSW swimmers, who are used to dominating the fine ocean swimmers tallies.

This season's tallies have been dominated instead by swimmers from Wessna-Stra'a, with the aid of the Swimming WA series, which offers regular swims of 5km and even 10km, and from New Zealand, who've been captivated by the tallies this season, it seems.

The effect of this WA series is shown in the stats: Cochrane in Auckland has racked up his 239.1km so far from 58 formal swims, averaging 4.1km per swim. Second placeholder at the end of March, Caitlyn James, has 128.7km from 18 swims, averaging 7.2km. James did not add to her tallies during March.

Of the Top 40 at the end of March, only Donaldson and Murray are from other areas.

It's a stunning development in the fine ocean swimmers tallies. In recent years, there've been strong showings from NZ and WA, with the benefit of two mid-week series in Auckland and the Swimming WA series respectively. But swimmers in those states fade towards the end, as the season in NSW runs through until the end of May.

But the Auckland and surrounds season runs much longer now, too. At the end of April, there's a 12.5km swim on Auckland's northern beaches, providing a distance anchor to their season's end.

At this point, the only substantial changes we can see is that NZ swimmers will consolidate their domination of the tallies.

According to staff propeller head, Colin Reyburn, who maintains the tallies for us, the list to the end of March includes –

• 735 swims
• 44,623 swimmers
• 170,000km in total distances swum so far

We have just one thing to say to Mike Cochrane: Get a life.

For the full list of tallies at the end of March... Click here

hamilton oceanswims 150329

And the winner is...

fosnz15logoThe 1st inaugural fine ocean swimmers series NZ has been won by sexagenarian Bruce Smith (above right), by 16 points from fellow Aucklander Andrew Stevens with Jenny Stark in third. They were amongst five swimmers who did all six swims in this first NZ series.

Smith's win was confirmed at the Five Bridges Swim in Hamilton last Sunday week, although it took us until a spare moment over Easter to calculate the points accurately and confirm Smith as the winner.

Along with almost-winner Brent Foster (2nd left) -- who missed out because he didn't read the rules properly -- Smith swam in the team at Hamilton with Stark and Stevens (2nd right). That's the team, above.

Smith wins a trip to either Vanuatu or Fiji for the Vanuatu Open Water Swims or the Mana Fiji SwimFest -- it's his choice -- with the other prize going to a random draw of all qualifying swimmers.

At the end of the series, 13 swimmers qualified for prizes having done at least four of the series six swims. The finishing order is -

  1. Bruce Smith (Auckland) - 541.93 pts, 6/6 swims
  2. Andrew Stevens (Mt Eden) - 525.56, 6/6 swims
  3. Jenny Stark (Castor Bay) - 508.41, 6/6 swims
  4. Brent Foster (Mt Wellington) - 488.80, 5/6 swims
  5. Harriet Lamb (Te Awamutu) - 458.44, 6/6 swims
  6. Rebecca Hollingsworth (Khandallah) - 396.35, 5/6 swims
  7. Wayne Annan (Glendowie) - 386.75, 6/6 swims
  8. Roger Soulsby (Auckland) - 368.73, 5/6 swims
  9. John Shackleton (Ararimu) - 367.89, 4/6 swims
  10. Pauline Mills (Glendowie) - 365.66, 5/6 swims
  11. Linda Collard (Waitakere) - 343.10 (5/6 swims
  12. Bridget Dingle (Auckland) - 310.79, 4/6 swims
  13. Dermot Smith (Auckland) - 300.34, 4/6 swims

For a full account... Click here

fosnsw15logoNSW fine ocean swimmers

The final round in the NSW fine ocean swimmers series is Coogee this Sundee. Other things equal, as it's said, Lisa Critoph looks good. For a round up leading in... Click here

This weekend

... looks like proving what we say about autumn being the best time of the season to swim -

Sat, April 11 - Mollymook e, Copeton Waters e (NSW), Matakatia (NZ), Hervey Bay (Qld)
Sun, April 12 - Coogee e, Shellharbour e (NSW), Coolangatta (Qld), Devonport (NZ)

We're taking online entries to all four NSW swims over the weekend.


mollymook pano 10

We love going to Mollymook. It's one of those beautiful, out-of-town beaches that we get to only once per year, even rarer but for their swims. This season, The Sarth Coast Weekend Away has reversed order, with Mollymook on Sat'dee and Shellhabour on Sundee, which stil gives your an orgy of swims if you'd like to head down south for a break. Mollymook has its community at the south end, where the surf club is, with an extended, more reticent community hiding amongst the coastal brush at the northern end, where the main swim starts.

Dolphins accompanying swimmers is not unknown at Mollymook, as are whales interceding the swim pod. Probably a bit early in the season for whales, though.

Sadly, we can't make it this season. But don't let that stop you.

If you entered this event last year, when it was cancelled, then your entry rolls over to this year, ie you don't need to enter again. Check your entry from the links on the event page or under Swims/Progress entries on

The forecast
  • Weather - Mostly sunny, possible shower, 9-22C (Willy Weather)
  • Wind - 9 knots SW (Hurley Surf)
  • Swell - 2.6 ft, SSE (Hurley Surf)
  • Tide - Low 7:17am, 0.5m (Willy Weather)

Online entries to the Mollymook Ocean Swim close at 3pm on Fridee, April 10... Click here

Copeton Waters

copeton 1401

A unique swim, particularly now that Lake Glenbawn runs no longer, offering good distance in fresh water in the lake in the hinterland behind Inverell. Another weekend trip away. It's beautiful country, they tell us. You can camp at the lake or maybe get a cabin. Accommodation options are on the event page on Distance options are 5km, 2.5km and 600m.

Be aware, online entries close at 5pm on Thursday, which is earlier than most swims. So don't be caught out.

The forecast
  • Weather - Partly cloudy, 9-23C (Willy Weather)
  • Wind - 1.5 kmh SW (Willy Weather)
  • Swell - 0 (it's an inland lake)
  • Tide - N/a

Online entries to the Copeton Freshwater Swim close at 5pm on Thursday, April 9... Click here



Every part of the season has an anchor swim, and this one's it since it's inauguration a few years back. In earlier days, many punters would stop swimming after February, thinking the season is over. We'd remonstrate with them, that autumn is the best time to swim: the water is warm, the oppression of high summer has gone from the air, and there's a good chance you'll get smooth seas, with or without swell, with clear water with gentle offshore breezes. Goodness, we go all tingly just thinking about it. Now, March and April are jam-packed with swims, with new swims heading there to get space. And Coogee's second iteration for the season of their (Wedding Cake) Island Challenge has become the flagship event of the season's dusk. In recent years, we've had well over 1,000 swimmers in the water over this weekend, thanks to Coogee. And many punters are realising what a great time of year this is to swim.

Three distances - 2.4km around the island, 1km inside the island, and an 800m Junior Dash. Something for everyone.

fine ocean swimmers series nsw

Coogee also is the final round of this season's fine ocean swimmers series NSW... Click here

The forecast
  • Weather - Mostly sunny, 16-22C (Willy Weather)
  • Wind - 9 knots WNW (Hurley Surf)
  • Swell - 2.6ft, SE (Hurley Surf)
  • Tide - Low 8:20am 0.5m (Willy Weather)

Online entries to Coogee close at 3pm on Saturday, April 11... Click here


shellharbour course

The second leg of The Sarth Coast Weekend Away, a picturesque sprint along the rockshelf and over the reefs from Boat Harbour Shellharbour to main beach. It really is a beautiful swim. We love rockshelf swims, because the rocks mean there's plenty of sea life.

The forecast
  • Weather - Mostly sunny, 12-23C (Willy Weather)
  • Wind - 11 knots W (Hurley Surf)
  • Swell - 2.6ft, SSE (Hurley Surf)
  • Tide - Low 8:24am, 0.5m (Willy Weather)

Online entries to Shellharbour close at 3pm on Saturday, April 2... Click here 


slsa cooly course map 15

The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships are on next week, and Surf Life Saving Stra'a are running their very own ocean swim over 2.5km from Coolangatta to North Kirra. The Aussies Ocean Swim starts at Coolangatta at 8:30am this Sunday. The SLSA is hoping to attract a lot of the mugs from around Stra'a who are on the Goldie for the Aussie Champeenships, plus all those regular Queensland and Northern NSW swimmers who are desperate for swims.

The forecast
  • Weather - Partly cloudy, shower or two, 18-26C (Willy Weather)
  • Wind - 13 knots S (Hurley Surf)
  • Swell - 2.3ft, SE (Hurley Surf)
  • Tide - Low 8:18am, 0.4m (Willy Weather)

Find out more... Click here

Postponed swims

Two swims were postponed over Easter. Queenscliff will run now on Saturday, May 2, and Terrigal has been rescheduled to Saturday, May 9. Online entries to both swims have re-opened.

More info

Go to for more info about all this weekend's events. Look at Featured Swims on the right of our home page, and under Swims/Calendars for the complete swim calendar.

What's your next adventure?

vanuatu olry 250


June - Port Vila, then Espiritu Santo Swim Week - Two swims in Port Vila, then a week of ocean swimming and other escapades on Santo, Vanuatu's Adventure Island. Do either or both legs. Visiting as a tourist is one of the best ways to support Vanuatu after Tropical Cyclone Pam. Port Vila was hit pretty hard, but Santo was pretty much unscathed and life continues as usual. Air Vanuatu's schedules are a little restricted until June 25: they're flying from Sydney on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and twice weekly from Brisbane between April 17 and June 25... Click here

tonga whale 250Tonga

July-August - Swim with whales - A week of swimming and whale watching in this unknown Pacific paradise, with the opportunity of getting in and swimming with the whales... Click here

Greek Islands

August - In the wake of Jason and the Argonauts, and Mamma Mia - Sail around the Northern Sporades, where Jason sailed, and Meryl Streep tried to marry off her daughter, with some of the best food you'll ever eat, and swim in some of the best water you'll ever experience... Click here

san sebastian pintxos 250Spain - San Sebastián

August-September - Pintxos, txakolí, cider, and swimming - The Basque country at the western end of the Pyrenees in northern Spain is a rich cultural mix. You'll get a taste of much of it on our inaugural oceanswimsafari here... Click here

Spain - Costa Brava

September - On the other side of Spain, the eastern end of the Pyrenees, we'll get more of the world's best water in the Mediterranean, and the world's best food, and more culchural mix, dipping our toe into the world -- and the home -- of Salvador Dalí... Click here

yasawas tavewa 250Fiji

October - Mana Fiji SwimFest and the Yasawas - One of our favourite Pacific island swim venues, a festival of swimming at Mana Island, and a week's oceanswimsafari to perhaps the most beautiful, remote swimming location on earth, the Yasawa islands. Do both or either... Click here for Mana... and here for the Yasawas

Heron Island

October 29-November 2 - Enormously popular over the last few years, we had almost 200 punters with us on Heron Island last October. It really is a good weekend of swimming in some of the most beautiful water, right on the Great Barrier Reef. It will be a cathartic experience for you, too. Have you ever swum with sharks?... Packages available soon

Vanuatu update

Wow. We've been telling you about the work in Vanuatu in cyclone recovery of ProMedical. At last check, just now, their online fundraising campaign is at $A202,144. Simply stunning support for a worthy organisation.

You still can support ProMedical Vanuatu... Click here

Swims open to online entry on

Copeton Waters (Inverell, Apr 11)... Click here
Mollymook (Sat, April 11)... Click here
Shellharbour (Sun, Apr 12)... Click here
Coogee (Sun, Apr 12)... Click here
Black Head (Sun, Apr 19)... Click here
South Curl Curl-Freshwater (Sun, Apr 26)... Click here
Queenscliff (Sun, May 2)... Click here - Rescheduled date
Terrigal (Sat, May 9)... Click here - Rescheduled date
South Head (Sun, May 17)... Click here
Vanuatu (June 6 and 10)... Click here
Mona Vale (Sun, June 21)... Click here
Mana Fiji (Thu-Sat, Oct 15-17)... Click here
Evans Head (Sun, Nov 15)... Click here

Coming soon... Tweed River (Sun, Nov 29), Toowoon Bay (Sat, Nov 28)


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