The hooter went off and with that hundreds of people ran in to the annual Bean Rock Swim.
What was the event?
Distances for the Bean Rock Swim include 3200 metres and 1600 metres. It happened on the 9th February at 10:30am at Mission Bay. The event is aimed at open water swimmers, triathletes and recreational swimmers.
What happened at the event?
As I arrived the swimmers – all of whom were swimming caps and most in Black swimsuits were being briefed through a microphone and they all had to listen to important safety messaging. It was paramount that they listened regarding what to do if they didn’t want to swim anymore…what if…
As I type this one man has just been plucked and it was brought ashore by the boats and dingys guarding the event…
The safety briefing was so important and even I found myself listening carefully to the key points. It is paramount that people know what to do importantly not to panic and for me that’s something at events can be lost. It’s more reactive than proactive but at this event they had the safety pretty much well nailed and planned.
The swim itself takes the swimmers out to Bean Rock Lighthouse and back in. Bean Rock is a structure in the middle of Mission Bay that sits 800 metres approx. from the coast. For me this event is worthy of a medal and an amazing feat for those taking part. This one in comparison to the swim event I was at on Thursday is much more “athletes”. These are proper trained, ready, prepped and dedicated people who on a Saturday want to go and swim in the open ocean. Fair play. I will watch from the dryland.
The swimmers slowly jog to the waves crashing in as the wind is pretty strong and as they begin to swim the currents pulling them slowly more left. The boardies and the surfers on boards and small boats surround the group as one arm at a time gets pedalled into the sea breaking waves and making waves.
The bobbling of heads go further out and watching from the beach they go into the distance – really you now can’t tell there is humans swimming. Instead you can see (from the photo below the cruise ship arriving) that beast was controlling the sea and the small pebbles of humans just plodding along. Don’t worry they were no where near each other.
45 minutes in the last of those swimming are getting to the structure to turn back and head for shore. On shore are parents, wife’s, husbands, kids and friends standing with towels waiting for them to return. What I laughed at was when the swimmers ran I – I heard (I assume) two girlfriends of two men who they just waved me to the rough seas turn to each other and say “coffee?” And with that they walked back up 500 metres to the coffee shop on the Main Street and sat and had a coffee. Very Supportive!
This was more than just a swim for lots of people – this was a challenge to be admired. It was training for some who compete maybe on an international level. The event had all of the relevant safety features. First aid at there ambulance points. This wasn’t an amateur event this was very impressive. I would be happy to run in to the water known the event had the relevant help when I would decide – enough.
New Zealand as a country has the weather that can put on events that are all about the outdoors. Auckland can have 4 seasons on one day but these swimming events are part of the lifestyle for many. So this event is basically tapping into that market. But now – for me this one being an annual event – could do with just that bit more production. That bit more of a bit in. You want people to say “this is the event I am training for”. You need to have the music in the position to build excitement. You need to think who is mcing, the message the event is giving to those not to participating and so on. Once the package is ready it gets sold as something not to miss. It still has the same roots with the same people wanting to compete it isn’t had a bit more of a show.
I think this event certainly has growth potential.
One thing to take away…
Sport and lifestyle go hand in hand. A growth in events that actually are lifestyle based is happening and this event is benefiting from those that love swimming and being competitive but not a professional athlete.
Your’ll find me in the swimming pool with my arm bands on.