Ross Youngman - Yingina (Great Lake)
Breona (North) to Miena (South)
25 km (15.5 miles)
10 hours, 22 minutes on 5 March 2022
Observed and documented by Rod Watkins
- Name: Ross Youngman
- Gender: male
- Age on swim date: 60
- Nationality: Australia
- Resides: Sydney, NSW
- Marcus Archer - boat skipper
- Richard Fazackerley - feeder
- Andrew Keay - kayaker
- Jock Gibson - kayaker
Involved with 2 Derwent River Big Swims previously for John Van Wisse and Brianna Thompson. Triple Crown swimmer.
|Stacer 440 50hp outboard
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, with minor exception of brief touching of dock at finish.
- Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (Funky Trunks), cap, goggles.
- Body of Water: Yingina (Great Lake)
- Route Type: one-way
- Start Location: Breona Boat Ramp, Little Lake Bay (-41.784528, 146.706944)
- Finish Location: Swan Bay Boat Ramp, Miena. (-41.989020, 146.688357)
- Minimum Route Distance: 25 km (15.5 miles) (map)
No known previous swims of this route.
- Start: 5 March 2022, 04:15:00 (Australian Eastern Standard Time, Australia/Hobart, UTC11).
- Finish: 5 March 2022, 14:37:05
- Elapsed: 10 hours, 22 minutes, 5 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (C)
|Air Temp (C)
Trackpoint frequency: 20 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
Nutrition: Fed on the 30 minutes rotating 4 different liquid 300ml feeds. 1. Staminade and gel mix 2. Flat ginger beer 3. Milo and water 4. Tailwind with apple juice and water
by Ross Youngman
What inspired you to do this swim?
Yingina / Great Lake is one of Tasmania’s most famous lakes and sits on the Tasmania’s Central Plateau at 1,030 meters of altitude which is high for Australia. It is a trout fishing paradise that Ihave visited since I was young. It is very wild, windswept and isolated area featuring sub-alpine moorlands with very few inhabitants, aside from fishermen and bushwalkers. I was looking for a long cold swim and thought this would be appropriate. The 25km plus length of the lake has not been swum before to anyone’s knowledge. As I grew up in Tasmania, I thought it be a chance to include some of my old high school and University of Tasmania buddies in the planning and support of the swim and have a memorable combined experience, like a very small “class of 1978 reunion”, which is what happened!
Describe how you planned for the swim.
I started to plan 8 to 9 months ago and initially worked with Rob Reid, an ex-Tasmanian who is experienced with marathon swim support, logistics and planning. He was Observer on my Derwent River Big Swim in 2020. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be there for the swim. We looked at the water temperatures and prevailing winds which we felt would be the problem areas. The prevailing wind is from the North but can turn Southerly quickly and weather is generally very unstable in the highlands. You can get 4 seasons in a day even in the summer.
An informal group was put together with delegations: Marcus Archer - Boat/Skipper, Jock Gibson/Andrew Keay - Kayaks, Heidi Archer - Ground Logistics, Richard Fazackerley - Feeding, Rod Watkins - Observer.
A month ago, I visited the lake with my brother Mark, a former Australian Fly-Fishing representative and Derwent River Big Swim pilot, to have a swim there and visualize the starting and finishing locations and drive the length of the lake. This process is important to me psychologically as it gave me confidence that the water temperature was comfortable and allows me to develop a visual mental map of the route. We looked for well- defined start and finish points for the swim. We decided to swim from the northern lake town of Breona (population 14), which has a dirt boat ramp just below Warner Road, to Mina (population 87 in the south), which has a busy concrete boat ramp at Swan Bay. Old school friends Marcus and Heidi Archer have a boat and a cabin on the lake at Miena so this became our base.
How did the swim go, generally? Did you face any unanticipated challenges?
We decided to start early around 4am as we thought it would be an 8-9 hour swim, and we were worried about a wind change to the south around noon, which actually never eventuated. The 25km drive from Mina up to the start at Breona at 3.30am was quite treacherous as the nocturnal wildlife, kangaroos and wallabies mainly, are everywhere at night and can cause serious damage if they “bounce” into a vehicle. There were two vehicles, the one with the kayaks went to the Breona boat ramp for the swim start, while the other with the boat went to a boat ramp at Brandum Bay.
From the start there was no moonlight, or any night light from the small town of Breona, and both the boat-crew and the paddler and I had navigation issues. It was pitch black. We got completely disorientated in Little Lake Bay and couldn’t find our way to swim out to the main lake area to hook up with the boat. Like a lobster stuck in a pot, I swam around in circles for some time before we solved the riddle of the bay and were able to get back on track and into a swimming rhythm. Mentally, this was challenging as I lost my swimming focus, thought the swim might be abandoned, and had to start thinking about problem solving with the kayaker, while treading water and getting cold. Not the start one hopes for! In the end I recalibrated to the reality that if I needed to stay in that bay for 2 hours until the sun came up and then head off, then I could, as I was trained for colder water and longer swims. At the tip of Reynolds Island, 8km in, the lake got very shallow and there was an eerie grove of partially submerged tree trunks that I was for the most part able to swim through, except for one moment when I rammed one tree and bruised my left-hand. The boat needed to detour around and reconnect with me at the other side. Other than this it was a lovely day with minimal wind and generally a straightforward long swim. Water temperature was comfortable between 15.9 and 16.8 degrees Celsius. The guys had a drone on board and got some great shots.
At Miena there was a welcoming party of about 8 friends, a couple of bewildered fishermen and 2 dogs! That evening we retired to the Great Lake Hotel and had a very nice dinner before calling an early night as exhaustion fully kicked in! The next day it was blowing 18 knots from the south gusting 30 knots, and we wouldn’t have been able to do the swim.
Click to enlarge.
- The Advocate: Sydney man Ross Youngman swims 26km across Tasmania’s Great Lake
- Pulse Hobart Facebook post
- Canberra Times: Sydney man Ross Youngman swims 26km across Tasmania’s Great Lake
- Co-ratified with Derwent River Big Swim / Australian Long Distance Swimming Federation.
- Small exception to MSF Rules noted - brief hand-touching of dock while walking up the beach at finish.
- In future, please get video of swim start.