2017 George Copley Open Water Swim

SWIMMING: Winners Ros Gumbys, Ian Young, Grant Simpson, Joanne Sutcliffe and Tristan Herbert at the Port Augusta Yacht Club.
SWIMMING: Winners Ros Gumbys, Ian Young, Grant Simpson, Joanne Sutcliffe and Tristan Herbert at the Port Augusta Yacht Club.

THE 2017 George Copley Open Water Swim was held on Sunday February 12, with about 60 swimmers from across South Australia coming together at the Port Augusta Yacht Club.

Tea Tree Gully Swimming Club’s Tristan Herbert and Ros Gumbys were the male and female five kilometre winners, making their club the overall team champions for the second year running.

Grant Simpson and Joanne Sutcliffe from Henley Beach Masters Swimming Club were the respective winners of the male and female 2km race.

Marion Swimming Club’s Ian Young won the men’s 1km race, while Helen Tucker from Noarlunga Master Swimmers claimed the women’s 1km race.

Strong winds accompanied the weekend’s cool weather change, making the swimming conditions challenging for the competitors.

Port Augusta Masters Swimming Club Treasurer Jenny Sims said the event was a success, with all competitors finishing their races.

“The weather wasn’t the greatest. It was quite rough and choppy, particularly for the five kilometre swimmers, but overall everyone was really happy,” she said.

Many swimmers spent the weekend in Port Augusta after arriving on Saturday, including international competitors Marie Sadler and Cyril Hocking from England.

“The event is great because it brings people into the town,” Mrs Sims said.

Boating coordinator Kevin Freeman said the annual competition would not be possible without the help of volunteers.

“We couldn’t run the event without local watercraft support, that being the power boats and kayaks,” he said. 

Established in 2002, the event was named after George Copley –  father of the late former Port Augusta City Mayor Joy Baluch – because he would swim in the Spencer Gulf every day of the year, even in the winter time.