THE snap lockdown across Victoria stopped the running of the annual Wreck2Reef swim last weekend, and organisers have been forced to cancel the event for the rest of 2021.
The swim, run by the Indented Head Yacht Club as a fundraiser, was set to go on February 13 but the five-day lockdown, which came into effect at 11.59pm on Friday last week, saw all outdoor events except for professional sport called off.
Wreck2Reef co-director Andrew Dix said the yacht club was “devastated” by Friday’s announcement by the state government.
“Unlike most other swims this season, the club made the decision in December to proceed and this decision was widely supported by the Victorian swim community.
“Up until a week ago, all the effort appeared to have been well spent with more than 450 swimmers registered and a forecast for perfect swimming conditions on the day.
“As a very small, volunteer-only organisation, the logistical, physical, and emotional effort to run such an event is very challenging. Our local suppliers, including the personnel from Barwon Heads/13th Beach SLSC, also put in an extraordinary amount of effort.”
“Given the uncertain nature of COVID-19, and the lack of predictability of lockdown measures, the logistical issues around finding a new date for this year and in galvanising the members for their support in running it, the call to cancel for 2021 has been made. The club is looking at how to recompense swimmers and will be in contact with them shortly.”
He said the implications of not running the Wreck2Reef went much further than the event itself.
“The funds raised from this year’s event were earmarked to purchase a new training yacht to cope with the increased demand for the club’s learn to sail program. The club runs this program at a loss, in the hope of encouraging new people to the health and lifestyle benefits of sailing. Without the swim, this program could not run.”
Anyone interested in participating in this program should search the club’s website at ihyc.com.au and make contact with the nominated people there.
The five-day lockdown has also affected the IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong, which was to run this Sunday, February 21 but has now been postponed until February 28.
In a statement on the IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong website, organisers said the new date was subject to final written approvals from key stakeholders that they expected to receive within the week.
“All currently registered athletes have been sent an email with more details of the new date.
“In what has been a continually evolving and challenging time globally, we recognise that the change at this late stage will come as a disappointment to all of you who have trained so hard and have been looking forward to the opportunity to race again.
“We thank you for your commitment and look forward to providing you with an exceptional race experience again soon.”