January 14, 2023

Fourth time’s the charm

Hayden Cotter from Manly has claimed his fourth Lorne Pier to Pub today (Saturday, January 14), covering the 1.2km event in 11.48, beating Bailey Armstrong by just one second in a sprint finish.

Rounding out the top three was Matt Gilling with a time of 12.06.


“There has been a great crowd down here building since this morning so it was great they got to see the excitement of a sprint finish,” Cotter said.

“It is a warm day out there and at about the halfway mark it started to get a little hot, but the conditions were great which made it a really enjoyable swim.

“I’ve had a few close finishes here at the Pier to Pub over the years and riding the surf to the finish in a close group is all part of the fun.

“My preparations for the event were a little different this year, after some time off I got back into it and have now moved to Manly. This event kickstarts what will be a great few weeks ahead.

“Next up is the Manly Surf Lifesaving Carnival next weekend, so I’ll do my best to back up today there. But there’s no doubt the Pier to Pub is the biggest open water swim around, there’s a 43-year history and 5,000 swimmers out there so it’s certainly one you can’t miss!”

In the women’s race, Main Beach’s Lani Pallister took out her fourth win with a time of 12.46.

Pallister is emerging as Australia’s latest swim queen, recently dominating at the world short course championships in Melbourne with a number of gold medals and a freestyle relay world record.

Mackie Hunter was second with a time of 13.43, and Breahna Burgess was third with 13.56.

“It’s so much fun to come down to Lorne. It’s such a beautiful beach and it’s always an incredible day put on by the Lorne Surf Club and Powercor, the major sponsor of the event,” Pallister said.

“I am incredibly grateful for everything the team here in Lorne do for this event, the hard work that goes into organising an event that athletes love to race."

“In 2022 I competed at the Comm Games, World Long Course Champs, and the World Short Course. Last year was a massive year for me, I came off the back of 2021 missing the Olympic team and had a whole string of health issues, so it was kind of rock bottom for me. So, to bounce back from a year like last year, starting 2023 fresh with Pier to Pub after it was postponed for two years because of COVID, has been great. It feels terrific to be able to come back healthy and be able to enjoy a day like today.

“The only other open water event that I’ve really done is the Noosa 1000, but the turnout the Pier to Pub attracts is just insane; it is certainly a world-renowned event and easy to see why people travel from all over to be here.

“It is an event that is globally seen and it is so special to be able to come back here after two years.”

In a sold-out event, 5,000 swimmers took to Louttit Bay to compete in the much-loved race that started at the famous Lorne pier and finished up at the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club.

Alongside the elite Superfish category, established athletes, media personalities, and politicians took to the ocean, including former premier Ted Baillieu, father-daughter duo Tim and Sam Lane, and former federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Yesterday (Friday, January 13), runners made an early start at 8.30am for the Mountain to Surf. Local legend Nick Wrightman took out the top prize, with Eleanor Raper winning for the women. The two events invite an estimated 40,000 visitors to Lorne.

Read Surf Coast Times story here.


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