For most, a nice weekend consists of lazing around on a sunlounge sipping Mojitos while for others it’s all about seeking adventure and pushing the boundaries. Fortunately for those avid adventurers who want to push the boundaries, the Lake Argyle Swim, an epic 10 to 20km Freshwater race on Australia’s largest man-made lake (by volume) promises just that!
This is a bit of cheeky post, as I really can’t claim it as an adventure challenge of my own. While yes, the Lake Argyle Swim is an avid adventurers dream, this weekend I enjoyed it from the sidelines, kicking back aboard the Kimberley Cat cheering on the courageous swimmers as they swam through the finish line. For those of you who would like a little more information on Lake Argyle, jump on over to week 2 of Freshwater’s 52 Weeks of Adventure Challenge here (then make sure you come back again!).
This was the first year that I’ve been able to attend the Lake Argyle Swim festivities and I was interested to find out a little more about the event. I discovered that The Lake Argyle Swim actually commenced in 2006 with 6 swimmers from Balmoral who were raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Since then it has grown from strength to strength, selling out in a record 3 hours in 2015 and taking out Western Australian Event of the Year in 2014.
Organiser Glenn Taylor of Fit Events said that the focus on the Lake Argyle Swim has always been and will continue to be about providing a wonderful experience, and not necessarily being the biggest swimming event in WA. “The beauty of limiting an event to a maximum 200 swimmers is we can offer something really special, like a celebratory glass of champagne at the finish line and a gala presentations dinner for 600 in the evening.” Glenn a self-described ‘washed-up triathlete’, is a lover of all things outdoor and fitness related. He represented New Zealand at the height of his career, and has cycled around Australia with his artist wife Jackie Ellis, stopping when they stumbled upon and fell in love with Kununurra.
I travelled out to Lake Argyle early in the morning on Saturday 2nd May and by 6.30am the place was already abuzz as swimmers and their support crew launched boats and commenced preparations for the big race. Families, friends, tourists and corporate sponsors were already mingling over cups of coffee around the Lake Argyle Resort and Caravan Park and there was a real sense of camaraderie even for those like myself who weren’t taking on the challenge. By 7.30am we were on the water aboard the stunning Kimberley Cat, heading out to meet up with the Silver Cobbler II who had been operating the early morning breakfast cruise at the 20km start mark.
Joined by a few extra passengers off the Silver Cobbler II we continued cruising the Lake, finally pulling up some 4 or so hours later at Bamboo Cove just below the Lake Argyle Resort. While I’d like to elaborate on my luxurious day on the water sipping sparkling wine, swimming, and lunching, this really is not the exciting tale of an avid adventurer. The story to be told here is of the swimmers and their support team. Some travel from across the country and across the globe to compete in the race year after year, and there is also strong local participation. In fact this year the winners of the 10km duo and quad teams were local East Kimberley residents and the 10km solo winner was a former Kununurra resident.
One of the winners Ben Broadwith just so happens to be a good friend of mine and I got chatting to him at the gala dinner (more on that later!). This was Ben’s 6th year competing in the Lake Argyle Swim and his first win. Teamed up with fellow local Penny Ragan the duo took out this year’s 10km duo title at 2 hours and 34 minutes. Yet despite the epic result, he remained humble “There were certainly more gallant efforts on the day than my own. Just because I crossed the finish line first doesn’t mean I was the strongest swimmer on the day, I mean look at 19year Caitlyn James who swam the 20km solo in 5 hrs!”
It seems Ben has a whole lot more prove, with a newly formed ‘Chinyan Classic’ approaching on the 23rd May. The Chinyan Classic came about after a bit of healthy banter from swimming rivals Beck and Sally, and Ben decided the only way to settle who was the stronger swimmer was a 3km unassisted race from the Lake Argyle boat ramp to Chinyan Island return. I’ve known Ben for a few years and know he’s a bit of a perfectionist so it will be interesting to see how the race goes!
So back to the swim and the festivities. The evening’s gala dinner was a chance for the competing teams and spectators to kick up their heels and celebrate. A fabulous 3 course dinner was provided by Lake Argyle Resort beneath the gum trees on the lawn. Local Kimberley brew – Matso’s beer was flowing and the music of Steve Case and Chris Matthews had a dance floor going right through the night. I actually pulled a muscle on the dance floor! The whole atmosphere was truly inspiring and there are a very few other events that capture that sense of community or mateship so well. I will definitely be returning next year, and who knows, may even don the swimming cap myself, although judging by my dance floor fail I may need to put in some training first…
About Freshwater’s 52 Weeks of Adventure Challenge
Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments is based in the picturesque town of Kununurra in The Kimberley region of Western Australia and is managed by Kimberley local, Ebony Muirson and her fresh enthusiastic team.
Over 12 months Ebony and her team will be venturing out into their pristine backyard to experience and chronicle 52 different Kimberley adventure experiences. That’s a new adventure every single week for an entire year!
We’re inviting you to come along for the ride by following the blog and joining us on Facebook and Instagram. We will also be announcing an exceptional competition during 2015 so sign up today for your chance to WIN.
On top of this we’re also running a #FresherAdventure photo contest which you can enter or vote on here.
We look forward to seeing you on our journey!
About the Author
Ebony is a Kimberley local and avid adventurer, who moved to Kununurra with her family as wide-eyed 8 year old on a hot and humid April day in 1992. Ebony’s adventures as a child growing up in one of the world’s last remaining frontiers inspired her to pursue a career in tourism where she would be able to share her love of the region she calls home with people from across the globe. Ebony has spent years working on the remote Kimberley Coast before returning to Kununurra to manage Freshwater Apartments. In 2012 Ebony was selected as a North West Ambassador through Australia’s North West’s Characters of the Kimberley campaign.
Ebony loves nothing more than helping create a once in a lifetime holiday for visitors to the Kimberley and looks forward to sharing her own Kimberley Adventures throughout the following 12 months.
Please JOIN THE ADVENTURE by following our blog, as Ebony and her team chronicle 52 weeks of unbelievable Kimberley adventure experiences.