Swimmers take the plunge at Portsea as major swim events return

Competitive ocean swimmers are back making waves once again, with the sell-out Portsea Swim Classic heralding the return of major Victorian swim events.

Around 2000 competitors hit the water at the Mornington Peninsula on Saturday for the “Classic” 1.5-kilometre event and “Gold” 2.5-kilometre swim.

Victoria’s most famous swimming event, the Lorne Pier to Pub, went virtual in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the Classic is the first mass ocean swim to take place this year.

Dominique Hart heads towards the finishing line at the Portsea Swim Classic.Credit:Darren McNamara

While the most junior competitor taking the plunge on Saturday was just seven years of age, it was truly on for young and old, with 87-year-old swimmer Patrick Galvin receiving a round of applause from the crowd after completing his 1.5-kilometre swim.

The day represented a double delight for 19-year-old Dominique Hart, as she took out both major women’s distance events.

“It was such a fun race, but so close at the end,” Hart said after her win in the prestige 1.5-kilometre race in a time of 17 minutes and three seconds.

“It was a sprint right to the end. I wasn’t sure if I had won it. But it is pretty cool.”

Jessie Coulson and Dominique Hart after their wins in the Portsea Swim Classic.Credit:Darren McNamara

Emerging ocean water swimmer Jesse Coulson said he was “stoked” to win the 1.5-kilometre men’s Classic for the first time, finishing in just 15 minutes and 51 seconds.

“I was hoping for a podium finish, but this is pretty amazing,” he said.

The event, now in its 35th year, is entirely run by lifesavers and volunteers from the Portsea Surf Life Saving Club. Club president Matt Mahon said the event played a “vital role” in helping to fund life-saving services across the Mornington Peninsula and ultimately keeping beach-goers safe.

“It was so exciting to be able to bring the Portsea Swim Classic to life this year given the challenging
environment of the past 10 months,” he said.

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