Lake Bonney Marathon Swim
Lake Bonney is a large lake located next to the town of Barmera in South Australia. It measures 6.5 km down the length at it's longest stretch and is the venue for our latest marathon swim challenge. On this occasion I swam 2 laps of the lake along that course making the swim 13 km.
I'd been wanting to do this swim for years. As a much younger person I competed here in open water swimming competitions that were much shorter in length that took part near Barmara running parallel to the shore. It was at this time that I became aware that Lake Bonney had been the site of an attempt on the world water speed record by Donald Campbell in his jet powered hydroplane, Bluebird K7 back in 1964 when he was trying to become the first person to capture both land and water speed records in the same calender year. I had quite a fascination with Campbell at the time, having watched a film about his last record attempt in 1967 that ultimately ended tragically. I worked out where the run had taken place, along the longest stretch of the lake and decided that someday I would swim two laps of the lake along this course. I wasn't aware of anyone else who had done it so it seemed like an interesting challenge worth doing.
We decided that we would camp at the northern end of the lake for Christmas of 2018 and that we would do the course back to front with the turnaround point being the Bluebird Cafe (which is an extension of the shed that Campbells boat was housed in during the 1964 attempt),
On Christmas eve we had a good weather window so shortly before 6.00 am we headed off and benefitted from flat water for most of the swim. It's worth noting that Campbell wasn't so lucky as it was the wind and water state that ultimately caused the attempt on Lake Bonney, which had yielded speeds of up to 216 mph, to eventually be called off and be moved to Lake Dumbleyung in Western Australia. It was there that on the last day of the year he recorded an average speed over two runs of 276.33 mph to set a new world record and become the first (and so far only) person to officially set both world land and water speed records in the same calender year.
Many thanks to K7 Project Bluebird for providing some stock footage to assist me in making this video.
For Endurance Swimmer articles and other information go to http://www.enduranceswimmeraustralia.com
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