Meet our swimmers 2020
MEET OUR SWIMMERS: The Dream Team and The Steam Team
Since 2016, there has been fierce rivalry between the elite swimmers in the Subiaco Sports Massage Steam Team and the South Cott Physio Dream Team. This year is no different after 2019 saw just 35 seconds between the two teams across the finish line!
The Dream Team took the line honours in 2019 with a time of 04:03:22.4 and were first across the line overall. The Steam Team, however, are still the male team of six record holders (04:01:33.6 recorded in 2017) so all eyes will be watching to see if they can keep their title!
The Steam Team is made up of Olympians and Aussie Champions Eamon Sullivan, Travis Nederpelt, Bobby Jovanovich, Matthew Pupazzoni, Jim Piper and Adam Lucas.
The Dream Team features a mostly new line up of some of our best and well-known open water swimmers including Gareth Evans, Jaime Bowler, Paul Laver, Tim Hewitt, Paul Blackbeard and Nicola Fraschini.
South Cott Physio owner Prue Stokes and her team will be at the finish line in the swimmer recovery area to check out and advise on any aches and pains.
Subiaco Sports Massage will be providing their team of expert therapists to offer swimmers a remedial massage after the event. Owner Bernd Adolph and some of the Subiaco Sports Massage staff will once again be swimming in the Port to Pub. The Subi Sports Staffish team includes Bernd along with Gretta Adolph, well-known swimmer Jessica Pengelly, Charles Wittenoom, Mark Ellis and Tom Adolph.
Good luck all – we’ll be waiting at the finish line!
MEET OUR SWIMMERS: SWiM
Pic: Ray Kuka, Kari Barnard, Kate Molinari and Brent Stewart make up Seven West Media’s SWiM team
We love it when our sponsors swim in the event and we are pretty excited to tell you our naming rights Sponsor Channel 7 / Seven West Media has fielded a team in the race this year – made up entirely of staff.
Port to Pub’s Jane Munday asked Seven West Media WA Chief Marketing Officer (and 2020 Port to Pub swimmer) Kate Molinari about the team and their preparations.
Firstly Kate, who’s in the team?
The SWiM team is made up of Seven West Media executives and it’s a real team effort, with staff members making up the entire team from our swimmers, to paddlers and crew.
I’m swimming, along with 7News Director Ray Kuka, Digital Director Brent Stewart and GM Technology Kari Barnard. SWM’s CFO Shane O’Connor is paddling along with our CAO Nathan Cave. SWM CEO Maryna Fewster is kindly providing our support boat and our COO Phil O’Toole will be in our support crew timing the rotation of the swimmers.
Is this the team’s first-time swimming across to Rottnest?
Three of the team have swum across to Rotto before in teams, with one of the team giving it a go for the first time. We are by no means hard core swimmers, but we are really looking forward to the challenge and it’s given us a great reason to focus on our swimming and fitness.
What is your current Port to Pub training schedule looking like?
We are a busy bunch and a bit time poor, so training together is a challenge. We have all been training and getting into the ocean regularly for swims. Our WhatsApp banter provides much needed motivation and laughs.
You and the support crew all work together at Seven West Media – how do you think you’ll perform as a team on the day?
As swimmers in the team, we think we’ll be backed by the best in the business on the day. Our CEO Maryna and her husband Steve are providing the boat, and Steve will be our trusty skipper. Shane, Nathan, and Phil will be with us as support crew for the day, taking in turns to paddle and keep time and make sure we’re all ok. And, it’s not only the support along the way that will help get us to Rotto, the team is also ready to party at the finish line!
What is it about the day you’re most looking forward to?
We are really excited to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, and enjoy being together as a team outside of the office. Seven West Media is really proud to support this event and we are excited to be such a big part of it. We think it’s going to be such a great day - we can’t wait!
MEET OUR SWIMMERS: The Cranky Crabs
The Cranky Crabs team of six is a group of 13-year-old school friends from Iona Presentation College. They will be the youngest all girl team to swim in this year’s Channel 7 Port to Pub with Hotel Rottnest. The team; Lilly Sutherland, Tahlia Kitson, Maggie Connor, Amelia Thomas, Olivia McManus and Grace Coenen are all extremely excited and up for the challenge.
They have varied swimming backgrounds but one thing they all have in common is the shared goal of making it to Rotto!
Some of the girls have known each other since kindy and have been waiting until they were old enough to participate, this has been a long time coming and they are thrilled to be a part of it.
Team member Lily Sutherland said: “We are lucky because our school has offered morning swimming training 4 times a week since the start of January and we have been going so we definitely feel fitter and stronger.”
Tahlia Kitson says she believes the Port to Pub will leave the team with with lasting memories and inspire the group to keep challenging themselves.
“I’m really excited about our first Port to Pub, I think it’s going to bring us closer together as friends and teammates, and it will be an experience we will never forget,” said Maggie Connor, while teammate Olivia McManus said, “This will be a first for our team and I hope there will be many more to come.”
We do too – good luck Cranky Crabs!
MEET OUR SWIMMERS: Bec Johnson
Well-known open water swimmer Rebecca (Bec) Johnson has set herself a serious challenge for 2020 – four Rottnest Channel crossings to raise $85,000 for the Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre, the non-profit organisation she co-founded in 2015 and now leads as its CEO.
Bec was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a complex autoimmune condition that left her dependent on daily insulin injections, when she was 17. Many people told her about the risks, barriers and challenges related to type 1 when she was diagnosed, but she’s out to prove them wrong, and show that life with type 1 diabetes can be a Life without Limits – the name of her 2020 swim campaign.
Bec spends her spare time swimming and scuba diving, and is happiest when she’s in the ocean. For Bec, the next three months of swimming are going to be some of the most mentally challenging of her life, swimming a total of 85km over three marathon swims.
This month, she'll swim a Rottnest Channel Swim solo, followed by the Port to Pub 25km ultra-marathon swim in March, finishing with a double crossing (Cottesloe to Rottnest return) in April.
Our sponsor Rottnest Express is kindly sponsoring Bec to be part of this year's Channel 7 Port to Pub with Hotel Rottnest.
Bec will be the first Type 1 diabetic to attempt our 25km ultra-marathon, which is the longest open water race in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first to complete a double crossing.
Bec has had over 40,000 insulin injections since diagnosis. Living with type 1 diabetes has taught Bec discipline, adaptability and mental toughness, which gets her through training for marathon swimming. She manages her medical condition with daily training, a very low-carbohydrate diet, multiple daily injections of insulin and adapting diabetes technology for use in the water.
At the Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre, she leads a team dedicated to creating a connected, confident type 1 diabetes community in Western Australia. The Family Centre is an Australia-first centre for people with type 1 diabetes; an award-winning non-profit that receives no government funding.
The next three months will take her swimming fundraising efforts to more than $125,000, having already raised over $40,000 for the Family Centre via solo swims to Rottnest Island in 2017 and 2019.
To donate, please visit www.lifewithoutlimits.com.au
To follow Bec’s story head to www.facebook.com/lifewithoutlimits2020
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that cannot be prevented and doesn't have a cure. It is triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and is not related to lifestyle choices. Type 1 can be diagnosed at any age, but is usually diagnosed during childhood.
People with type 1 diabetes are dependent on a complex daily regimen of insulin injections, blood glucose testing and strict management of food intake and physical activity, for life.
The Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre:
Established in Perth, Western Australia in 2015, the Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre connects, supports and inspires hundreds of families impacted by type 1 diabetes through education, clinical care, and community-based support. A non-profit that receives no government funding, every dollar donated to Life without Limits will go towards the Family Centre’s programs and services for the type 1 community of WA.
MEET OUR SWIMMERS: The Sea Hags
We are celebrating our fifth year of Port to Pub and there are a few swimmers who we're proud to say have participated every year of the event.
The Sea Hags – made up of Chelsea Begley, Jaye Reynolds, Sally Flavel and Emma Johnston - is one of those teams.
They are the current female team of four record holders for their 5:16:14.3 swim in 2016 and are back again in 2020 to try and keep it!
Port to Pub’s Jane Munday spoke to Sea Hags team captain Chelsea Begley.
“We swam in the Port to Pub’s first year and we were the first female team of four over the line. We have managed to keep our record since 2016. We had also managed to win the female team of four category every year, until last year when we were beaten by three seconds! There was no choice for us except to return again in 2020!!
The team is made up of me, my sister Jaye Reynolds, along with Sally Flavel and Emma Johnston. Jaye and I met Emma at Thornlie swimming club when we were kids and I met Sally about 20 years ago through our husbands. So, it’s pretty special for us having such a long-term bond.
The four of us have always swum. As kids we all followed that black line up and down the pool and we all competed at various levels. As young adults we all made the move to open water swimming. Most of our kids are right into surf club, so we still spend a lot of time at the beach and in the water.
Our busy schedules mean that we all do our training separately – in fact the only time we all get together before race day is the briefing night!
We’re really looking forward to Port to Pub this year. I’d love it if we could break our own record and finish in under 5 hours.
We’ll keep on swimming in Port to Pub as long as we can. This year my kids said I couldn’t do it – so I am [laughs]. That’s going to be my 2020 motto!”
Good luck Sea Hags!
MEET OUR SWIMMERS: Michael Pell
Perth-born Sydneysider Michael Pell is taking on the 19.7km solo in this year’s Channel 7 Port to Pub with Hotel Rottnest.
He’s swum across the Rottnest Channel in teams before but this year marks his first solo challenge.
He admits he’s more of a runner than a swimmer but, as he told Port to Pub’s Jane Munday he’s driven by a cause close to his heart.
“I always wanted to commit to a Rottnest solo, but I was pretty scared about it.
In 2011, we were devastated to lose my Dad from Motor Neuron Disease (MND), after a diagnosis only a year earlier. Committing to a solo swim has been a huge deal for me, but I have found the strength to commit by honouring my Dad’s memory and fundraising for FIGHTMND, which supports the Cure for MND Foundation
Rottnest is a special place for me. My Dad used to take me there every Easter and Christmas holidays growing up - I know he would be very proud to see me swim solo to Rottnest in the Port to Pub. I became a proud father to Oscar two weeks ago, so that’s motivating me even more.
I’ve been training with VladSwim and been swimming 4 sessions a week at the Andrew Boy Charlton pool and one in the ocean in any of Sydney’s many great swimming spots. I’m going to be swimming in a tandem solo with my mate Stuart Wesley, who lives on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria, so we can encourage each other along the way.
I find swimming really meditative. I think about Dad a lot. And now Oscar too. I think about [former Essendon player] Neil Daniher who’s another inspiration for my solo swim. I think ‘my solo swim is nothing compared to what he and my Dad have had to go through.’ And that really spurs me on.
My wife Karen and Oscar, my Mum and sister will all be there to see me at the finish line. They’re really proud of me.
I’ve raised over $12,000 already and I’d be grateful for ay donations and support to help FIGHTMND and find a cure for this disease.”
Donate here: https://bit.ly/2QZOlSj
Michael is doing a solo swim with Stuart Wesley.
MEET OUR SWIMMERS: The Cin Cin Girls
The Cin Cin Girls making a pact on St Patrick's Day to swim in 2020.
Team of six, The Cin Cin Girls are a very special bunch to the Port to Pub team.
Felicitas Schwarz (Flic), Di Twigg, Patricia Doohey, Sheridan Lister, Karen Parbery and Sarina Bowyer have been involved in the Port to Pub every year since it started.
Not all of them were always swimmers but one way or another they found swimming. It has become their passion and they have now swum together in a squad for years, forming wonderful friendships along the way, writes Port to Pub’s Jane Munday.
Ten years ago, on a flight to Perth from Germany (where incidentally she met her now husband), ocean swimming was about as foreign as Australia to Flic.
“I wasn’t a swimmer at all. I love endurance sports but I hadn’t ever swum races in the ocean.”
She moved to a house on the coast and found herself by the ocean more and more. Seeing the start line of the Rottnest Channel Swim was the moment she was convinced she wanted to swim to Rottnest. She completed her first Team Channel crossing in 2013 and hasn’t looked back. It’s a passion she now shares with her husband Scott.
“Scott is from Edinburgh. He couldn’t swim freestyle when he came to Australia. With a lot of dedication, he learned freestyle and did his first solo crossing in 2014. He’s swimming the Port to Pub 25km ultra-marathon next year. How good is that?”
Flic [and Scott] met the rest of the team – Di Twigg, Trish Doohey, Sheridan Lister, Karen Parbery and Sarina Bowyer when they joined the Barracudas swim squad at Churchlands.
“We quickly became friends. We swim together and we party together! It’s such a nice group of people and I have always felt encouraged. It is what has made my move to Australia so special and gave us a sense of belonging,” said Flic.
They now train together at Scarborough Pool as often as possible, and fit in ocean swims where they can.
Most of the team is in their 50s and 60s (except Sarina!). They have over 11 solo swims between them and many, many duos and team swims.
Port to Pub swimmers will well remember Di Twigg’s epic solo in 2016 (pictured) – the first year of Port to Pub. After a disqualification at the Rottnest Channel Swim a few week’s earlier, she took on the Port to Pub 19.7km solo swim. She reached Rottnest with 10 minutes to go before the cut off time and had been in the water for over 10 hours. She was met at the Island by the loudest of applause – the whole crowd ready to celebrate her achievement. After her swim, Di said: “If you can’t come first, come last, you get an even better reception.”
Sheridan Lister, Trish Doohey and Karen Parbery are well known and long-time members of the WA swimming community and so is the ‘youngster’, Sarina, a former national water polo player.
“We love the atmosphere of Port to Pub. That’s why we have done it every year. It really is a swim for all and I think we’ve shown that you’re never too old to swim – or to do a solo swim. I didn’t think it was possible, but it is,” Flic added.
Good luck (cheers!) The Cin Cin Girls
MEET OUR SWIMMERS: Hot Chips
Pic L to R - Monique Vollprecht, Louise De Chiera, Jane Heaven, Sarah Breheny
The Yallingup Lagoon is proving a great training base for four South West mums swimming in a team called Hot Chips!
Dunsborough’s Monique Vollprecht, Sarah Breheny, Louise De Chiera and Jane Heaven have spent the winter training in the Busselton Pool, and are very happy to be back in the Yallingup Lagoon for their 6am swim sessions, where they swim a roughly marked triangular route that varies with the effects of the tide.
“I love the lagoon, it is really protected. At the moment, it’s still quite cold but it’s exhilarating,” said team captain Jane Heaven.
Heaven swam at school, but really started enjoying it once she moved to the south-west, when a group of girls started swimming together and entering races along the way. “I don’t really love pool swimming – the black line and chlorine - but it is so refreshing to swim in the ocean and I love having the sea life to look at. And I love the morning swim - you feel amazing for the rest of the day.”
“I had always wanted to swim to Rottnest, but I thought it was for elite swimmers until the Port to Pub event. This race seemed to have a lot of opportunity for everyone. So we decided to give it a go and we had such a great time we wanted to do it again.”
Teammate Monique Vollprecht agrees, “We swam in the inaugural Port to Pub and we won our team’s category. I love the team aspect of the Port to Pub and competing with beautiful, supportive friends. Doing a team event makes you accountable and motivated to train.”
Louise De Chiera said she had always enjoyed swimming but her passion kicked in when she joined Swimming Women in Busselton. “With a swim coach and gorgeous women by my side I have grown to love swimming more and more which has extended to a love of the ocean. I love the beautiful friendships that have been created in the water, the laughs and meditative feeling of swimming.
“I never thought I would swim to Rotto but with the support of three fabulous girls who have done it before I am excited for the Port to Pub.”.
Heaven says the biggest challenge for the team is time – finding the opportunity for the team to get together around their families’ schedules. “But the enjoyment we generate from swimming training together far outweighs any other challenge. We finish an event and enjoy it so much we sign up for the next one straight afterwards!”
Good luck Hot Chips!