Navy tests new waters

Published on SBLT Kat Mulheron (author), LSIS Dove Smithett (photographer)

Location(s): Mount Martha Beach, Vic

Topic(s): HMAS Cerberus, Swimming

Members of the Basic Clearance Diver Course 312 take to the water with the Cerberus Salty's at Mount Martha Beach, Victoria. (photo: ABIS Dove Smithett)
Members of the Basic Clearance Diver Course 312 take to the water with the Cerberus Salty's at Mount Martha Beach, Victoria.

Members of the HMAS Cerberus Salty’s Swimming Club have dived outside of their personal comfort zone and into chilly waters off Mount Martha Beach for a new experience in ocean water swimming. The swimmers braved water temperatures of 10.7 degrees during a 500 metre swim.

The Cerberus Salty’s were formed in 2006 to offer swimming as a recognised sport option at Cerberus. The club has proved popular and welcomes all levels of swimmers, from recreational to competitive swimmers.

LEUT Andy Fenn, RAN, has been involved with the club from its early days and organised the swim with the Mount Martha Surf Life Saving Club (MMSLSC) ‘Ice Bergers’ as a way of challenging the club's swimmers while building on the relationship with swimmers in the local community.

According to LEUT Fenn, this sport is not for the faint hearted.

Lieutenant Andy Fenn of the Cerberus Salty's at Mount Martha Surf Life Saving Club, Victoria.

Lieutenant Andy Fenn of the Cerberus Salty's at Mount Martha Surf Life Saving Club, Victoria.

“We’re always looking for challenges and we thought this would be a great prelude to swimming activities scattered around the Port Phillip Bay. It gets us out of the pool and into the ocean,” said LEUT Fenn.

“The swimming community on the Peninsula are a very dedicated bunch. The Mount Martha Surf Life Saving Club Ice Bergers are an amazing group and can teach us a lot about ocean water swimming, as well as showing us what dedication really is.”

Kaye Jarrott, an Ice Berger member of the MMSLSC for five years was on hand to supervise and guide the Salty’s during their first attempt at cold water swimming.
 
“You have to be a little crazy to be part of the club. It’s addictive and you really feel invigorated, but on days where the water is rough as guts – that’s fun”, said Kaye Jarrott.

The MMSLSC Ice Bergers were formed seven years ago, with members’ ages spanning 30 to 70 years. To qualify as an Ice Berger, members must swim regularly throughout the winter season (June-September). Kaye explained that new members usually start by swimming in wetsuits and are affectionately known as ‘tenderfoots’. After their first season they are challenged to lose the wet suit and progress to ‘rookie’ status. On swimming as a ‘rookie’ for a season the new member will then earn their jumper and officially be welcomed into the select Ice Bergers club.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131298.