Harcourts Cooper and Co Swim The Bridge – 2021 Event Report

There was raw emotion and elation at the finish line of the Harcourts Cooper and Co Swim the Bridge on the weekend with everyone having to dig deep to complete the 2km Double Crossing and the 1km Single Crossing alongside Auckland’s iconic Harbour Bridge. 

With a strong south westerly building progressively throughout the event and the turning tide, this swim was undoubtedly our roughest and most challenging event to date.  Not only for you, our swimmers, but for our safety and shore crews. Those at the back of the field battled the worst of the conditions, making the experience even more rewarding.  In the USA, open water swimming is called ‘rough water swimming’ – well, we certainly delivered on that!  Congratulations!

Click here to watch the video from the event!

Our winners did make it look easy however, and with the advantage of speed made the most of the better conditions.  Their times do reflect how rough it was, with Oxford Bayley winning in 25:52, considerably slower than usual! Axel Wohlfarth showed the teenagers that the more mature athletes still have what it takes to excel in those conditions finishing 2nd just 30 seconds behind and winning the M45-49 age category.  Jayden Collins took the third spot another 30 seconds later.

Abbey Smale secured the women’s win and overall series championship in 27:15, with Ella Crowe in 2nd place a full 2 mins behind.  Emilia Finer impressed by finishing 3rd just over a minute later but without a wetsuit, taking out the overall win in the non-wetsuit category.

Sunday saw much better weather conditions for the 1km crossing.

Paul Flynn, AKA Flynny from MoreFM had the easiest route across the harbour with the help of former Olympian Dean Kent.

We managed to deliver the prize giving without losing flags, banners and tents in the wind, so were relieved to be able to enjoy the ambience and a refreshing beer at the Ponsonby Cruising Club for our Series awards prize giving shortly afterwards. 

We took this opportunity to acknowledge Peter Wilkinson’s final swim in our series who at 80 has decided to retire from open water swimming – what a race to finish with…in 48.01! Incredible!  Thanks Peter for your support and outstanding results throughout the years, completing 68 Ocean Swim Series events. 

All top 3 age group series winners were recognised, these results can be viewed here.

Special mention and congratulations go to our overall series champions who continued to impress with close battles throughout the summer season, with Abbey Smale taking out the top spot with a perfect 300 points.


1st Abbey Smale 300

2nd Ella Crowe    294

3rd  Alice Adams 289.6


1st Alex Dunkley    299.6

2nd Oxford Bayley 299.4

3rd Brent Foster     296.6