Marking the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice is once again upon us this June 21. Celebrated by swimmers of all ages and abilities – whether it’s a short dip into icy waters or getting together with mates for a weekend swim session.
In the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19, the winter solstice looks a little different to the swimming community this year. Chatting to swimmers from around the country, it’s clear that spirits are high as temperatures are low, with hundreds prepared to take the plunge and celebrate this weekend.
Charlotte O’Beirne founder of Swimming Women, based in Margaret River, has organised a jetty jump on Sunday off the Gnarabup jetty followed by a hot chocolate at the White Elephant beach café.
Starting in June 2013, Swimming Women has been running for seven years. Swimming Women was one of the recipients of the Community Swimming Grants Program, through the Move It AUS - Participation Grants Program. Through the funding Swimming Women have helped 1213 women learn to swim and take on challenges that they thought were beyond them.
Home of ‘Dark Mofo Nude Solstice Swim’, which was sadly postponed this year, will not stop hardy Tasmanians from dipping into icy cold waters with temperatures expected at 11 – 12 degrees.
The RipRace will still be hosting their annual winter solstice swim, albeit slightly differently this year with a swim at Williamstown. RipRace is expecting 50 swimmers to brave the 11-degree water, with 40% of participants opting to do the swim sans wetsuit.
“This winter has been an unusual one!”
Chatting to Grant Siedle, race organiser and director.
“Due to the COVID-19 situation, many swimmers have had to swim in the bay. It has led to this new attitude that open-water swimming is not only a summer sport! Groups that usually train in the pool have found a favourite location with their friends, set up regular sessions and enjoyed coffees and chats afterwards.
We were due to run a large event in St Kilda as a celebration of the winter solstice - an extension of our original night swim - but had to cancel. So, instead we’ve decided to run a small morning event in Williamstown, with numbers carefully regulated (SOLD OUT). The big surprise was that many swimmers were looking for an opportunity to race. Some will be in wetsuits and some will be without, but everyone will be celebrating the benefits of cold-water immersion and the Solstice.”
With more temperate waters making, the Yeronga Yabbies will be taking full advantage of this and diving in bright and early at 7:30am at the iconic Yeronga pool. Dolphin #586 Casey Flouch, of River City Masters, will also be back in the water with his eyes on the prize and the upcoming MSA Nationals in September.
If you plan on taking the plunge this weekend, make sure to tag us @swimmingaustralia on Instagram and Facebook.