What makes an ocean swim a 'classic'?
Over at the ocean swims website this question is hotly debated.
But I think most people would agree the Ord Minett Sydney Harbour Swim Classic organisers are justified in using this overhyped word. And they earn the right solely because of the location.
The swim starts and ends at the Sydney Opera House, off the Man O' War Steps. And for most of the course, which runs a loop around Farm Cove, the 'House' in all its massive bathroom-tiled glory can be glimpsed as swimmers turn their heads to breathe. That's pretty cool.
The atmosphere surrounding this year's event was far more relaxed than in 2009, when Sydneysiders were scared to go in the water after a series of nasty shark attacks over the summer months. The most horrific was just around the corner from Farm Cove in Woolloomooloo Bay, where a bull shark tore off a navy diver's arm and leg.
But back then the shark experts predicted that 2010 would be much quieter - and it has been. Apparently, shark attacks are cyclic (comforting news) and a lack of cold currents and bait fish in the harbour and along the coast has possibly kept them away this year.
So, there wasn't the brouhaha, including TV news crews, like last year. Nor did the organisers provide a power boat or hire extra scuba divers to blow bubbles below the competitors.
Hey, maybe that's why I swam slow this year! No sharks. That's my excuse for allowing Davo to beat me - AGAIN.
Although I swim like someone's tugging on my foot, today's experience was fantastic. Last night's rain seemed to have no effect on the water quality as it appeared much clearer than last year.
The sun was shining, the crowd was chilled, the water was a pleasant 22 degrees Celcius and both the 1 km and 2 km (I think that distance is debatable, more like 1.5 km) swims ran on time. Davo reckons he finished in around 30 minutes, so it can't possibly be a 2 km course!
Check out my pic of the House, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge behind it.