Monocle Magazine: Sydney Swimming

Last month Monocle Magazine featured the most liveable cities in the world and of course, Sydney was one of them. They wanted me to travel around the Sydney area and document the people and places that makes swimming feature so strongly in the Sydney lifestyle. I traveled around the northern beaches like Balmoral and Manly and many of the eastern beaches like Clovelly, Maroubra and of course, Bondi. I'm a big swimmer myself so I was really looking forward to hitting the spots that I love and getting the chance to find some new ones. After a summer and autumn of almost non stop rain I lucked out- the weather was fantastic and it was great to have an excuse to spend a lot of time near the water.

Below is Murray Cox. It was sheer luck meeting Murray as he was the first person I met on the first morning I went out to begin shooting for the article. It turns out Murray has been swimming in Sydney his entire life and is one of those rare swimmers who has "connected the dots," which means he swam every beach in the Sydney area from Palm Beach in the north down to Kernell in the south. He knew everybody associated with swimming in Sydney and put me in touch with just about everyone else I had to shoot for this article. What a find!

It was the beginning of winter here in Sydney when I began to shoot for this article, so most swimmers had retired until spring. Most of the people I met for the article were the few hard-core all season people. When I first moved to Australia I swam year-round as I was accustomed to swimming in chilly Lake Michigan (the water temp in Lake Michigan still never gets warmer in the summer than Sydney gets in the winter) and I would happily spend an hour or so in the winter water in my board shorts. A lifeguard had come out once to check to make sure I didn't have hypothermia and I sort of laughed at the idea of being that cold. Now, a year and half into living in Oz and I'm completely acclimated and I can't go in the water for more than 10 minutes without reaching for my wetsuit and feeling like I'm going to freeze to death.

My mother happened to be visiting us from the U.S. for a few weeks so I decided that it would be a great way to show her a bit of Sydney by taking her with me to Balmoral to shoot one of the Balmoral women's swimming clubs. The women loved that I brought my mom to a shoot and my mom ended up being so inspired by the incredible fitness of these swimmers (many of whom are my mom's age or older) that she decided afterwards to join a swim club.