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May 7, 2020 - Preliminary fos tallies 2019/20

Preliminary fos tallies 2019/20


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Emailed to more than 41,000 ocean swimmers weekly in season.


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With the nation in lockdown, record numbers of frustrated swimmers have been migrating on weekends to find beaches that will have them... Image by David Helsham @glistenrr

    fos tallies

    Preliminary tallies for inspection, critique

    It’s a bit earlier than usual, but we have posted our preliminary fine ocean swimmers’ tallies for the truncated season 2019/20. The tallies total the swims and distances for each and every ocean swimmer, in a formal ocean or open water swim in Australia or New Zealand, or in an array of overseas swims in which swimmers may participate, in season 2019/20.

    Season 2019/20 was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic, so tallies are lower than they would be in a normal, full-length season. Our seasons run from June 1 through May 31.

    Note that the tallies are preliminary. We advise you to check the lists to ensure that all your swims are recorded. If there are errors, there are links on the page on to contact us to let us know. We will amend appropriately.

    Understand that many organisers, and many timers, are sloppy with their reporting of results. They record only name, usually — but not always -- gender, sometimes age, but only rarely other identifying data, such as where a swimmer is from. Often, too, their input of data is misspelt or otherwise in error. This means that it is often very difficult to identify swimmers, and to separate swimmers with similar names. Thus, some swimmers will appear several times in these lists as if they are different swimmers. We need you to check the lists and to draw these anomalies to our attention, so that we can then edit the master list to ensure the final tallies are as accurate as we can possibly get them.

    To check the fine ocean swimmers tallies… Click here

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    Blind Vision

    Story of a remarkable swimmer

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    James Pittar on the beach on Marthas Vineyard after swimming the Muskaget Channel in 2000. Pick from Getty Images.

    Many NSW swimmers will know of James Pittar. Those of you who don’t, should.

    James is a bit of a legend. We first learnt of him c. 2000, after being told about him by an American ocean swimmer, who lived in London but had recently, at that time, visited his mum in the nor’-east US. This was where he, the American swimmer, had learnt about this remarkable bloke: in the local paper on Martha’s Vineyard when James completed a swim across the Muskaget Channel.

    Over the years, James has completed marathon swims on every continent. Why is that remarkable?

    Because James Pittar is blind. In doing what he does, James shows everyone that disability does not preclude one from having a go.

    In doing his marathons, James swims with an escort paddler, who is equipped with a whistle: one blow for right (or maybe left); two blows for left (or maybe right); three blows for “Shark”, although James used to say he had never heard that one.

    James is a big bloke: very tall, with long arms. He has a devastating left arm, which skims like a Scud missile across the surface of the water, ready to clock any idiot who gets in its way.

    Anyway, James Pittar now has written a book about his life. It’s titled, Blind Vision. We are waiting on a copy, and we’ll write about it when we’ve read it. In the meantime, you should check it out. Blind Vision is published by Inspiring Publishers. You can find out more about it, and order it… Click here

    And check the video of the book… Click here

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    New Swipe Wide-Eyes

    More Swipes in stock now

    V630ASA AMBK 300There's a new model Swipe: the Wide-Eyes cater to swimmers who prefer an adjustable nose bridge, and a slightly wider field of vision than offered by the existing Swipe Selenes. They come in both plain and fully sick mirrored versions. They will be more suitable, perhaps, for punters who need a longer or narrower nose-bridge.

    We wore our original View Selene Swipes for 56 outings, until we lost them at Bondi a few weeks back. Left them in a change room. Now, we're using the new Wide-Eyes Swipes.

    We had been cautious about promoting the Swipes when we heard about them from the folk at View. We wore them 30 times before we were comfortable with flogging them to you. If they do fog at all, generally it's in one corner of a lens. Each time, we took them off, wiped the foggy bit gently with our forefinger, and no more fogging for the rest of the session. No goo, no spit, no nothing, except wetting them and wiping them carefully

    We've sold 310 pairs of View Selene Swipes since we launched them just prior to Xmas; so many, in fact, that we'd sold out of four colours and we'd almost sold out of the fifth. New stocks have arrived, and we have plenty of gogs in all available colours and styles.

    The revolutionary Swipe technology offers anti-fog capacity that lasts 10 times as long as existing goggles, the makers say.

    According to the makers, the "10 times as long" refers to distance they say you can swim before you start to see some fogging with new goggles. They say the standard is 4km, but the Swipes will go 40kms. Whatever, all gogs will fog if you don't respect them and look after them. The issue also is how to deal with the fogging if and when it does occur.

    For advice on looking after your gogs... Click here

    Find out more and order Swipes... Click here

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    Read the piece...

    Outrage at call to be allowed to swim

    In our last newsletter (Apr 15), we made a plea to The Authorities to open closed beaches so that swimmers could swim. We attracted a lot of support from like-minded punters. But we also drew heated criticism from others, some of whom accused us of dissing the need for lockdown during this pandemic.

    (To refresh your memories, and to check the considerable feedback on Controversy Corner -- scroll to the bottom -- you can read that piece again... Click here)

    It seemed to us that most of these critics had not read our piece, or at least, had not read it all, or taken it in.

    We never argued against lockdown; we simply said that, whilst The Authorities were right to impose lockdown, they were also right to allow punters to get outside to exercise. But whilst allowing runners, walkers, and cyclistes to exercise, they had ignored the needs of many of us who swim. Surely, beaches could be managed such that genuine swimmers and beach walkers could gain access to their beaches for their daily constitutionals; that the world did not consist solely of serious joggers or walkers, or even more serious cyclistes.

    Since then, councils generally have reopened beaches. Some punters have ignored the rules -- we condemn them for it -- whilst others at last have been able to get their preferred exercise without being made to feel like criminals.

    Footnote: We have been getting to swim sometimes, but when we can't swim, we walk along the riverbank on shared paths. This is dangerous. Dangerous because of the verrry serious, cats'-bummed cyclists who think a "shared path" means it's a cycleway and pedestrians have no right to get in their way. They make their statements by zooming along at breakneck speed, swerving around walkers and runners, expecting all of us to jump out of their way.

    And are shared paths the appropriate places for bikes and skateboards augmented by battery-powered motors? They're motor vehicles. They're not what shared paths were intended for. They are fast, often out of control, and they are dangerous. Councils should do something about them.

    Controversy Corner...

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    The team at Controversy Corner... (l-r) Alan Clarkson, someone else, token player, Rex Mossop, Col Pearce, and Ferris Ashton. We're tearing up over this. This was Sundee to us, before ocean swimming.

    What do you reckon about any of this stuff? We received a lot of feedback after last week's newsletter. Check it out... Click here

    Let us know and we'll facilitate the debate... Click here

    (Also see posts at the end of this newsletter.)


    New season dates

    The pandemic has not stopped organisers from planning new season swims. We’ve begun to update our calendar, the most comprehensive ocean and open water swim calendar in Strã’a. If you know of a new season swim date, please let us know… Click here

    Some new dates are worth noting if only because they involve significant shifts for their events from previous years.

    In Sydney, the first metropolitan swim of the season, by tradition, at Narrabeen moves to a Sunday, the first Sunday in November (Nov 1). Till now, Narrabeen has always been a Sat’dee swim.

    The following weekend, the Cook Cronulla swim moves forward a month to Nov 8.

    Both November and January, next season, have five Sundays. In January, this allows Bilgola to take the third Sunday, Jan 17, thus getting clear water and a city date on its own. January for the next three years has five Sundays, so Billie will have this date to themselves for at least that time. We’re looking forward to that one, particularly.

    There is always at least one very busy Sunday over March and April, caused by the fluid timing of Easter and of the Australian Surf Life Saving Champeenships. This season just ended, it was to be April 5, when five swims were scheduled in NSW alone. Next year, Easter is the first weekend in April. Already, we have two swims (North Steyne and Coffs Harbour) already scheduled for the weekend prior, March 28. We expect more to use that date, as well.

    The 2021 surf champs are April 16-24.

    Mollymook shifted to the first Sunday in May in the season just ended, although that never got to happen, what with Covid-19. We’re hoping they’ll keep that date in season 2020/21. We’ll let you know.

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    For swim results... Click here

    If you have a link to results that we have not listed, please send it to us... Click here


    Don't be an emergency eejit. It's 'strordnry how many punters enter swims online and list themselves as their own emergency contact. Just say something happens to you out in the sea, who are awgies going to contact? You? Get real. Think about it, and enter someone else as your emergency contact, event if it's your boss at work.

    List your swim group...

    List your informal morning swim group on our directory, so that travelling swimmers will always have a place and a peloton to swim with... Click here

    Check our swim maps...

    For a quick idea of what's going on around your area -- formal events, informal swim groups -- check our swim maps. You'll find them for each area under Swims/Calendar on

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    We send this newsletter to a mailing list of over 41,000 swimmers, mainly in Australia and New Zealand, around the south-west Pacific, and even around the world. If ou'd like to advertise with us, give us a yell... Click here

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    • Nadia Barbov Comment Link
      Nadia Barbov
      Friday, 08 May 2020 04:45
      I generally thoroughly enjoy your newsletters, but today I'm extremely disappointed to read your thoughts on cyclists on shared paths. As you're aware, there has been an uptake of cycling in recent times due it to being one of last activities one can enjoy outdoors. Rather than blaming the person riding a bike, may I suggest your anger be directed towards the state government for not providing sufficient space so that cyclists, runners and walkers all have the space to enjoy their activity? Tensions rise only when people crammed into on narrow, uneven and disjointed paths. Perhaps Sydney, like many other cities around the world including Melbourne, could use this opportunity to provide 'pop up' cycle lanes to allow for this healthy, free activity to thrive well beyond the era of Covid. Please reconsider your thoughts on the matter, you have a far reaching voice and it's a shame to put it towards hate rather than a productive conversation.

      Thank you for the service you provide to the ocean swimming community. I look forward to a more active 20-21 season.

      Nadia Barbov

      os.c replies: We're cyclists, ourselves, so we re not without sympathy or empathy. Neither do we object to sharing "shared paths". Some cyclists clearly have similar feelings. But some don't, and they're the ones we're aiming at. They cycle on a shared path as if we're encroaching on their space, and not as though it's a space that must be what it says: shared. Their speed is way to high for a shared space, particularly a crowded shared space, and they manoeuvre their machines as if they're doing a giant slalom. It's dangerous and disrespectful of everyone else on the path. It's not all cyclists; it's just some. We agree: wouldn't it be terrific if there were dedicated cycle paths all over the place, and they could have their space, and we could walk/run in greater safety. But we don't. Until we do, cyclists should treat runners and walkers with the respect that they seem to believe is their right from everyone else. Another group of cyclists are simply out of control and would be unsafe at any speed. So, some of your points are valid, Nadia, but some are misdirected. Thanks for responding.
    • Jo Skinner Comment Link
      Jo Skinner
      Thursday, 07 May 2020 06:16

      Thank you for stoking the war on cyclists. Here we are encouraging everyone to get out to get healthy and yet apparently cyclists are cat-bummed, expecting everyone to get out of their way?

      Certainly not the case. Instead why don't you have a word to those who drive 2T boxes of metal on the road who are about 300% more lethal?

      Love your newsletter but many of us are swimmers AND cyclists. Please don't pigeon hole.


      os.c replies: You're right, Jo. We should have made clearer that it's not all cyclistes who are a problem; it's just some of them. Some are very polite and they recognise that the path is there to share.

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