It was four seasons in one day for the 6th running of the Bondi Splash n’ Dash event in Sydney.
The water was a chilly 17.5 degrees, so wetsuits were permitted, but most chose a simple cossie for their race attire to brave the conditions.
The event attracted locals familiar with the treacherous Bondi surf, interstate challengers and even internationals from as far as the UK to race at the iconic location. There were competitors as young as eight through to seasoned salties.
Rough seas made conditions tough. Some participants were pulled from the water by the Bondi Lifeguards, but all making it out safely under their watchful eye.
The day included five events providing a race suitable for all abilities and fitness levels: Bondi Mile; Bondi Splash 2000; Garmin Splash n' Dash; Junior Splash n' Dash and the infamous Duck Dash for Cash.
The testing conditions forced a course change for safety reasons, but it didn't phase competitors. Some reading the rips beautifully on the way out and then taking full advantage of the waves of the way back in.
The juniors were up for the challenge and while some didn’t make it out passed the break, the big swell didn’t intimidate them. The Ocean Heroes crew were on hand to attend the the swimmers in the water and nearly all were beaming with smiles as they competed.
The pinnacle event that all spectators had been waiting for, the Duck Dash for Cash. In this hilarious novelty race the field had a 400m beach run in flippers, a 300m swim with an inflatable duck, then to feel the sting in your legs with a sprint up the beach to the finish line. The rules are strict. All ducks must be 75% (or more) inflated and you must cross the line with your duck and flippers. The field is limited to 50 participants and they guarantee it will have you in stitches. It delivered on its' promise.
A late entry by Australian Dolphin, Kurt Herzog added to the already stacked field with open water champs, Bondi Lifeguards and past champions.
There was only one duck casualty, but several escaped the clutches of the swimmers in the high seas forcing them back to the beach like a comical game of snakes and ladders.
“It was highly entertaining, but admittedly a lot harder than it looked,” said Herzog, who juggled a GoPro and over-sized flippers for the run.
Swimming is one of those great equalisers. In a fantastic spectacle at one of Australia’s iconic locations, spectators young and old, males and females, the super fit and the super social all compete alongside each other for a great day of fun, fitness and an opportunity to challenge yourself.
A very passionate Bondi Lifeguard, Andrew ‘Reidy’ Reid runs a fantastic operation where everyone feels like a winner whether you cross the line first, finish the course or get pulled out by the safety team. You had a go and gave it your best.
"The event has proudly raised nearly $40k to support local kids at Waverley Action Youth Services (WAYS)," said Reidy, organiser of the Splash Series Events.
Swimming Australia has been supporting the Splash Series Events throughout Australia Swims over the years. One things for sure, we’ll all be back again for more fun.
Next up for the Splash Series is Splash Sydney Harbour on Australia Day.
Stay tuned for Australia Swims 2020 plans - launching December 1 for a full summer of swimming fun.