With the weather forecast looking a little scary a week out, the organisers of The 2017 Cheltenham Swim – the Devonport Swim Club – were not expecting a huge number of sign-ups.

The annual 2km swim event starts at Narrow Neck beach and finishes at Balmain Reserve, Cheltenham Beach.

However the peninsula’s local swimmers were not at all perturbed with fickle forecasts and turned up in droves on the day (Sunday 2nd April) with wetsuits, goggles and smiles. Some of the 144 entrants included hardy ‘Buckets Club’ members who swim weekly off Narrow Neck all year round through winter, storms and gales. This was their Sunday Stroll.

Although the sun didn’t feature much on the day, there was only a gentle north-easterly breeze – nice for supporters on a very humid day – and the rain patiently held off.

A pleasant surprise awaited swimmers rounding the first buoy as they turned south towards North Head: the incoming tide was unusually strong and whipped them around to Cheltenham in record time.

The overall winner was Devonport Swim Club coach Ben Marshall in a whisker over 20 minutes (20:09). First female across the line was another DSC member Dawn Dooley in  23:12. In the under 15’s, the first junior girl home was Isabella Webb in 29:32; and Jake Scott took the junior male’s no.1 spot in 23:09.

The donation of excellent prizes from local businesses (including Hammer Hardware, New World Supermarket Devonport, Devon on the Wharf, Corellis Cafe, Chateaubriant, Glengarry Wines, The Vic, Dixie Browns restaurant, JustWorkout Gym, The Natural Health Co and Baked Devonport) made the prize-giving almost as much fun as the race.