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Early morning at Aore... Our base for this year's Espiritu Santo Swim Week.

Fresh blood at the top

... but this is not a competition

The fine ocean swimmers' tallies for season 2015/16 are complete, and they tell us one thing: Kiwis need to get out more.

The tallies are topped by a New Zealander for the second season running, although it's not the Kiwi you were expecting: this time, Katrina Price (that's Katrina, below left) ended the season on 169.6km, but from only seven swims at an average of 24.2km. That's what will happen if you target long swims, and Katrina focused on some biggies: 141.9km in five of her swims, all of these in the USA.

price katrinaThe usual suspect in recent years, Mike Cochrane, who led at our last update at the end of March, ended on 159.2km from 51 swims, averaging 3.1km.

Kiwis fill the top four places, with Price and Cochrane followed by Pauline Mills on 148.7km from 39 events, and Stuart Whitney on 140km from 38. Indeed, New Zealanders fill six of the top seven places and 10 of the top 11. The only non-NZers in the top 11 were the peripatetic Jim Donaldson (NSW, 134.5km from 39 events) and Jennifer Smith (WA, 104.7km, 16 events).

There was a surprise appearance at 13 from a Victorian, Dee Greenwood on 96.5km from 27 events. Otherwise, it's all pretty much NZ and WA in the top 200 with the occasional New South Walian and the odd Victorian.

Why these two origins? In Wessna Strãa, it's the preponderance of longer distances offered by the WA Swimming Open Water Series, which seems now to be crowding some established, smaller swims, along with two Rottnest swims in season 2015/16. Next season, the WA Swimming series consists of 15 events. Where is there room for anyone else, one might well ask?

In NZ? Perhaps that's all they do over summer when the ABs aren't on the telly. There are a couple of longer swims in NZ, but there isn't a rash of them as there is in the West. Maybe they're just keener than anywhere else.

Indeed, in the case of Katrina Price, her tally consisted of seven swims in the US, three of them counted as one event (the multi-stage 8 Bridges Swim in the Hudson River, 75km over several days), and a series of four lake swims in Arizona (66.9km over four days, also counted as one event).

As you know, the tallies are no longer a competition; merely an acknowledgement of the effort that punters put in. So we're not congratulating all this lot: we simply salute them.

A special mention, too, to Mike Cochrane, last season's tallies winnern with over 300km... Check out how many swims Mike did over the course of the season (June 1-May 31), averaging as good as a swim a week, even including winter. And this is just formal swims, not your informal, "8 o'clock at the toilet block" swims.

The top 10 were -

1 Katrina Price, NZ (169.6km, 7 events, ave 24.2km)
2 Mike Cochrane, NZ (159.2km, 51, 3.1km)
3 Pauline Mills, NZ (148.7km, 39, 3.8km)
4 Stuart Whitney, NZ (140.0km, 38, 3.7km)
5 Jim Donaldson, NSW (134.5km, 37, 3.4km)
6 Raewyn Barker, NZ (121.7km, 35, 3.5km)
7 Rebecca Hollingsworth, NZ (116.2km, 19, 6.1km)
8 Jennifer Smith, WA (104.7km, 16, 6.5km)
9 Rosie Sharman, NZ (101.4km, 23, 4.4km)
10 Jillian Walker, NZ (101.2km, 19, 5.3km)

Regional toppers were –

  • Australia – Jim Donaldson (6th overall, 134.5km, 37, 3.4km)
  • New Zealand – Katrina Price (1st overall, 169.6km, 7, 24.2km)
  • Pacific and Others – Sam Nimarota (Samoa, 573rd, 29.4km, 5, 5.9km)
  • ACT – Jill Pettifer (361st, 36.2km, 17, 2.1km)
  • NSW – Jim Donaldson
  • Northern Territory – Megan Gallagher (1,739th, 16km, 5, 3.2km)
  • Queensland – Mark Sowerby (385th, 35km, 3, 11.7km)
  • South Australia – Roman Zaika (344th, 37.1km, 12, 3.1km)
  • Tasmania – Zia Mitchelmore (614th, 28.2km, 12, 2.4km
  • Victoria – Dee Greenwood (13th, 96.5km, 27, 3.6km)
  • Western Australia – Jennifer Smith (8th, 104.7km, 16, 6.5km)

See the complete list... Click here

Be aware, some swimmers may have two or more listings. This is due to variations in name, ages and perhaps locations of origin over the course of the season. If you feel your listing is wrong, first check to see whether you have more than one listing, then tell us... Click here

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One of our fave aspects of Vanuatu... The coconut plantations along the east coast of Santo. It tells us we're in the Pacific.

The World's Largest Swimming Lesson

A message from our cobbers at Brewer Swimming...

worlds largest swimming lessonBrewer Swimming, run by Coach Graeme Brewer, invites all you lot to take part in The World's Largest Swimming Lesson, as they put it: an event taking place simultaneously in over 500 locations in more than 20 countries around the world. The objective is to raise awareness of the need to learn to swim...

What: The World's Largest Swimming Lesson™
Where: The Gartlan Centre, St. Ignatius College, Riverview.
When: Friday June 24th, from 6.15pm to 6.45pm.
Cost: Free!


brewer swimmingThe World's Largest Swimming Lesson™ is a promotional event designed to build awareness and generate local and national press attention about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning. The 2016 World's Largest Swimming Lesson will take place over the course of 24 hours at an estimated 500 locations in more than 20 different countries!

Come along on Friday 24th June 2016 to help us break the world record, catch up with old friends, meet new friends, chat and enjoy the after party - a sausage sizzle (gold coin donation). All funds received will be donated to the Samuel Morris Foundation, to support their vision in preventing future death and disability from drowning.
Check out some of the amazing work they do at

We hope to see you there!

Graeme Brewer & the Brewer Swimming Team

Minestrone @ Mona Vale (and the Solstice Swim)

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Entries are open to the Mona Vale Solstice Swim on Sundee, June 19. Swim from Bongin Bongin Bay around the rock shelf into Mona Vale (that' s the course, above), then warm yourself with Mrs June Dibbs's minestrone, which she's created by taking time off from writing letters to the Herald. Water temp probably will still be around 20C, maybe a little over, maybe a little under... Click here

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10% off Heron Island till June 15

We're into the exotic swimming season over winter, which ends with one of the most exotic swims of all: the Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island (that's part of our peloton above, a couple of seasons back). Those of you mugs who saw David Attenborough's series on ABC telly recently will know a bit about Heron Island, and those hundreds of you who've enjoyed the swim weekend over the past five or six years also will be familiar. You'll know it's a very special place.

It's in Australia, but it is exotic because it's off the coast, on the reef, outside Queensland and off the Stra'an mainland. 70km off.

Swimming on the reef is unlike swimming anywhere else in Stra'a. The water is so clear, the marine life so abundant, the environment so pristine, the experience is cathartic. Not only that, it's life changing.

It's a four-day weekend that's like a festival of open water swimming: two formal events (1km and 2.8km), swim clinics with Coach Graeme Brewer, turtle watching and befriending, and much more. It's turtle laying sseason, too, so if you're good, you may get the chance to witness this, perhaps even, if a turtle surfaces next to you for a breath, to get diredt experience of what a turtle's breath smells like.

Swim dates are November 3-7, 2016. And if you book by June 15, the Heron Island people are offering a 10 per cent discount.

See details below...

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This could be you, entering the waters on the Great Barrier Reef off Heron Island...

A message from our cobbers on Heron Island...

Book your place in the 2016 Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island before 15 June and receive a 10% discount!

great barrier reef swim logo 16 circlePlans for the 2016 Great Barrier Reef Swim are underway and we can't wait to welcome all swimmers, their families and their friends to Heron Island for four days of fun in the sun and in the water from Thursday 3 November - Monday 7 November 2016.

The 4 night Great Barrier Reef Swim Package includes:

  • 4 nights' accommodation
  • All meals - breakfast, buffet lunch and a 2 course or buffet dinner
  • Return boat transfers from Gladstone for 2 guests
  • Welcome drinks
  • Swim clinics
  • Swim entry
  • a 2016 Great Barrier Reef Swim goodie bag

From $900 per adult, twin share

To secure your spot, book online, email [email protected] or call 1300 732 354.

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Terms and conditions apply.

Night at the brewery

james squire beers in a rowNot with Ben Stiller, but with Chuck Hahn...

We've conferred with our favourite ocean swimming brewer, Chuck Hahn, and we've set our end-of-season Organoleptic Evaluation at Chuck's Malt Shovel Brewery for Thursday, June 30. Chuck blends different James Squire brews with matching finger food, explaining the characteristics and the make-up of each beer.

We'll also draw the winner of the trip to the Mana Fiji SwimFest from our fine ocean swimmer series 2015/16.

There are limited places available, so if you'd like to come, please let us know. Tickets are free (thank you, Chuck and James Squire), but you need to fill in and submit the booking form... Click here

I ocean swim, therefore...

bs cossies both bothJust the ticket for cutting a fine figure on Heron Island, or anywhere else you swim, for that matter... With the help of our cobbers from, we've released our very own oceanswims cossies. We haven't put commercial markers on them too heavily because we respect your right not to be a walking billboard. But observing punters will be in no doubt about whom you are: An Ocean Swimmer, ie "I ocean swim, therefore I am".

The Laydees model is designed with racing and swimming longer distances in mind. Mrs Sparkle loves this style, with its narrow straps that slide across the back to suit the way you swim. Very comfy, she says, and they keep her "in", whatever that means. They're chlorine-resistant, too, so you can wear them in the pool as well as the ocean.

The Gents model...? There's not much you can do with budgys for boofheads, of course, apart from make them look good, and chlorine-resistant, and the budgysmuggler people have done both of those things.

We love them. And you can buy them now... Click here

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We're your next adventure

We've had a lot of bookings already for our oceanswimsafaris in 2017. But you can still book some for 2016...

Costa Brava (Spain) – Swim France to Spain and other myriad swimming adventures, culture, food, Salvador Dalí – it's got it all -- from $A3,320 – (September 12-20)... Click here

Mana Fiji SwimFest - Packages are online now for the Mana Fiji swims October 18-23. Two days of swimming (separated by a day) - 10km solor or 3x relay on Thursday, then 5km, 3km, 1km on Saturday. Mana Island's North Beach is one of the best places in the world for an ocean swim. Packages from $A1,285 pp twin share. You can use the 10km solo swim to qualify for Rottnest the following February... Click here

Yasawas Fiji oceanswimsafaris - We're doing two oceanswimsafaris to Fiji's Yasawas Islands, to the fabled Blue Lagoon staying at Blue Lagoon Resort. The first is prior to the Mana swims (Oct 10-16), the other following (Oct 23-29). Packages from $A2,145... Click here

Book for 2017

We've had so much interest in our oceanswimsafaris in future years that we've decided to open bookings early so you can reserve your spot. For a $500 deposit, you can make sure you don't miss out. The deposit is fully refundable if you decide not to go ahead (obviously, until we work out tour prices, we don't expect you to make an irrevocable commitment). We've already taken deposits for 1.5 oceanswimsafaris to Tonga in 2017 to swim with whales. Don't miss out on this one, or on any of the oceanswimsafaris you'd like to do.

Just fill in a pre-booking form nominating the oceanswimsafari you'd like, noting on the form that it's for a future year, and we'll be in touch... Click here

Swims open for online entry

Mona Vale Solstice (Sun, June 19)... Click here
Burleigh Heads (Sun, Oct 30)... Click her

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