Bridge test accepted

EXTRAORDINARY feats of human endurance and perseverance were performed in Cohuna at the weekend.

The town hosted its annual Bridge to Bridge event on Sunday, which included swimming, running, cycling and paddling events, while a triathlon was held on Saturday.

Local athletes went up against visitors from Deniliquin, Echuca, Rochester, Bendigo and Melbourne. 

The marquee event, the eight-kilometre swim along the Gunbower Creek from Dalton's Bridge to Town Bridge, was won in emphatic style by Craigieburn ocean swimmer Evan Moreland, while Deniliquin's Brenda Norman won the women's swim in a hard-fought tussle with Marita Chisholm from Bendigo. 

"I do a lot of ocean swimming but this was my first time in a creek," Moreland said after the race. 

"The current wasn't as strong as I was expecting but it wasn't too choppy either, so apart from the weed it was very good to swim in."

Large amounts of duckweed floating on the surface of the creek were harmless, but made conditions unpleasant for swimmers. 

"If you got it in your mouth it didn't taste nice and it got stuck in your throat if you swallowed it," Moreland said, who also hit a couple of stumps during his swim but nonetheless promised to return next year. 

Norman was also competing for the first time, after an algal bloom in the creek interrupted her plans last year. 

Norman said she enjoyed a healthy contest with Chisholm throughout the swim. 

"It was cat and mouse all the way and we conferred about the direction as we went along," she said. 

Norman, who also won the short course triathlon the day before, prepared herself for the creek swim by training in the Edward River at Deniliquin. 

"I usually swim in the pool although I have done a couple of training swims recently in the Edward," she said. 

The 6.5 kilometre run went to Bendigo competitor Adam Parker, who led from the start to defend his 2016 title.

"The second half was tough but I improved on my time from last year so I'm happy with that," the 37-year-old said. 

"I was starting to get tired and I thought some of the younger ones might pass me but I held on." 

Local resident Pip Hodge won the women's event, keeping pace with the leading men for much of the race. 

"I went out hard and I was up with the guys but I dropped back in the last three kilometres," she said. 

"The heat was taxing so I'm very happy with my time." 

Rochester cyclist, Gary Hedington won the 25-kilometre bike ride, racing solo from early on to cross the finish line well ahead of the bunch. 

"I rode a time trial bike and rode by myself most of the way," said the 54-year-old past winner. 

"The young blokes beat me last year so it was good to clean them up." 

Event co-ordinator Geoff Dale said competitor numbers were down slightly on past years, but all events were still hotly contested. 

"The numbers for the triathlon were similar to previous years but they were down a bit for the Bridge to Bridge, and I think that's because there were lots of other things on across the district," he said. 

"The swim was a fraction slower than past years but the run and cycle events were much the same.

"The weather was good and everyone who was there had a great time." 

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