Lake Talbot, Narrandera
Sat, March 8, 2014
The arena, Lake Talbot
Team NSW bonds at Riverina Rush…
Neil Daley gave this swim a good rap last season and I was keen to test it out.
What is it
A choice of 2 or 5 or 10km swims in Lake Talbot, Narrandera , 100kms west of Wagga.
The open water swims have been an annual event for the past sixteen years. This event was the only inland open water event until Lake Copeton kicked in last year. The open water swims are part of the Riverina Rush Multi Sport Festival with running and cycling events on the Saturday and a Triathlon on the Sunday.
The peloton sets course
565kms from Westleigh down the Hume Highway, 5.5 hours comfortable driving. Living 7 minutes from the M2 entry at Pennant Hills is a bonus. The Hume Highway route a dream run... no traffic lights from M2 entry until downtown Wagga. Drove down day prior with family, golden arches strategically placed every 1.5 hours.
Placegetters in the mens.The Murrumbidgee River is crossed twice as you enter Narrandera. Stayed at Newell Motor Inn 5 minutes from event site, hosts Warren and Robyn …. Robyn’s cooking memorable. Warren has not been to Sydney in 40 years. I confirmed that Opera House now complete.
Lake Talbot Aquatic Park is an oasis with a variety of pools and huge water slides surrounded by lush green lawn terraces. Well patronised. On the afternoon before the swim, I did a recce of swim location and noted several buses in car park. Aquatic Park management advised that high school kids had travelled from Wagga for half a day.
On the day
Narrandera Amateur Swimming and Lifesaving Club (NASLC) provided logistical support to the swim events. The course was a 1km out and 1km back , with the 5km starting on a pontoon at the 1km mark. Swim Races were organised as follows : 10km 9am, 5km 10am and 2km 11am. In the 10km volunteer paddlers were on hand to provide nutrition and moral support for the journey. I was teamed up with paddler, Terry Lawrence, who supported Neil Daley in 2013.
Donaldson and McCouat are contenders.Simon Lee, Race Director gave match briefing and five participants ( four from Sydney) were off and running in the 10km. Every participant had a top three finish.
Yola Janic, AUSSI Masters rep. and swimming coach at Sutherland Shire Leisure Centre, finished in 2hours 45m. Nick McCouat (pronounced Mcoo..at) finished in 3 hours 13 minutes. Scott (“The Dubbo Bullit”) Stevenson overtook me at 7km (he @ 9km) accelerating to finish in 2 hours 49 minutes. Post-race, I encouraged Scott to attend Lake Macquarie swim in two weeks.
Felt good throughout with one feed at 6km. Finished in 3 hours 52 minutes and just touched out by Katie Price (also 3hr 52m). Georgia Fryer from Sydney podium finish in the Female Open 5km swim.
With the OS Tallies crown and top placings up for grabs, Team NSW - Mcouat/Donaldson/Price - will provide a formidable challenge to the Outliers and Kiwis.
Special thanks to Simon Lee (NASLC) who made Sydney folk most welcome and encouraged a return visit with more city folk.
Honorable mention to Terry Lawrence who patiently supported the author during this epic, and to the Narrandera Argus newspaper who provided photos for this report.