Waves tamed by home-grown talent

LOCAL swimmers exerted their dominance on the Tathra Wharf to Waves on Sunday. 

Luckily for organisers and competitors alike, a heavy gathering of natural algae had almost cleared thanks to a southerly change on Saturday.

“You couldn’t have done this last week,” a spectator said about the algal bloom. 

“Today is the clearest it’s been in more than a week.”

Swimmers from Bega, Tathra and Pambula couldn’t stop visitors from claiming the cash (see story page 27), but were able to ensure most of the prizes stayed in the Valley. 

 Bega swimming coaches Phil and Zoe Harris were strong contenders on the day, and so were their students. 

Zoe completed the 30-39 women’s age group 600 metre leg in a mind-boggling time of under 10 minutes. 

A delighted Zoe accepted her award during presentations and promptly declared “I’m pregnant” over the microphone. 

Zoe said the announcement was unplanned after surf club members had prompted her to “say it”.

“They wanted me to tell everyone over the microphone that I had been doing announcements from the duck,” Zoe said. 

“But when Linda [Badewitz-Dodd] told me to ‘just say it’ I thought she meant my pregnancy.

“After I said it I was just like oh [expletive]!” she said. 

Zoe’s partner Mark Philipzen, who placed in his division jumped up during the presentation and said “and I’m the father!” to a cheer from the crowd. 

Finally Phil stepped up to claim his award for coming first in the 60-69 male division said “and I’m the grandfather”.

Zoe said the trio couldn’t stop laughing about it. 

“Some people actually came up to me and said they thought it was hilarious. 

“It was just a funny day.”

Zoe said a number of the Bega Swimming Club’s students had done exceptionally well and she was proud of their performances.

“Ellie Parker, Keira Hoyland and Levi Carter all did really well.

“It goes to show we don’t just swim up and down the pool, we want the kids to have great skills like this for life,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Tathra lifesaver Sharon George also conquered all comers and contested more than one race, as did Shayne Rettke.

George toppled the opposition in the 40-49 women’s division and secured third place in the 1200 metre Splash for Cash. 

Rettke took out a win in the 20-29 age group. 

The win made his parents very proud. 

Tathra Surf Life Saving Club president Judy and southern branch president Tony Rettke, were delighted with Shayne’s time. 

Rettke capped off his performance the same way as George claiming third in the men’s Splash for Cash. 

Taking part in the first race of the day was Narooma News editor Stan Gorton. 

 Gorton said the conditions were “perfect” after last year’s rough seas. 

“After last year’s big seas that had swimmers getting battered in the chop and swallowing their fair share of seawater, this year’s event dawned with flat conditions perfect for ocean swimming,” Gorton said. 

Gorton who is a member of the winter swimming clubs the Bermagui Blue Balls and the Narooma Numnutz said cooler than expected conditions didn’t deter him or his fellow club members. 

“Overcast conditions and somewhat green water did make the waters look a little dark and foreboding. 

“And the relatively chilly water meant some complaining from competitors as they were waiting for the starting hooter while treading water out from the Tathra Wharf.”

Gorton said the event had been “magnificently organised” and was friendly to swimmers of any ability.

“[There was] support boats and boards shepherding them along the way.”

Gorton said he and other swimming club members were looking forward to returning next year.

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