Swimmers brave the elements to complete 50th anniversary of The Rip Swim

July 10, 2021 BY

Shien Lo exiting the water after battling for two-and-a-half hours.

A TOTAL of 26 open water swimmers took part in the 50th anniversary of the original Rip Swim Crossing from Point Nepean to Point Lonsdale on Saturday.

Organisers from the 3.2 kilometre swim confirmed the water temperature for swimmers sat around 12 degrees Celsius, as they attempted to complete what Doug Mew did in the winter of 1971 without a wetsuit.

For 25 out of the 26 swimmers, they battled what was described as a very strong ebb tide, confused water, choppy seas and icy winds as they travelled over one of the most well-known waterways across the entire country.

“The swim was a magnificent day marking the 50th anniversary of the first crossing,” said founder and organiser of the event Grant Siedle.

“It was a significant challenge for all of them, and a big crowd clapped them into shore which was awesome.”

All of the swimmers swum 75 minutes to qualify for the swim, but had to extend their limits to stick it out for longer during the anniversary crossing.

The first team to complete the milestone, the Green Team consisting of Simon Jones, Tim Koopmans, Matthew Annells and Michael Urban, came in just after the 70-minute mark, while the majority of participants exited the water around 90 minutes after the race’s start.

Exiting the water after two-and-a-half hours, Shien Lo battled the currents to emerge as the final remaining swimmer to finish.

Each small group of swimmers was accompanied by their own escort kayaker and numerous safety boats, as Rip Swim took every precaution to ensure the safety of all participants.

The event is already encouraging next year’s participants to head online and register themselves for 2022, as bookings for the next season open in August.

Those competing in next season can look forward to an exciting new race format, hinted Mr Siedle.

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