Canberra takes to the water as Lake Burley Griffin recreation season begins
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Canberra takes to the water as Lake Burley Griffin recreation season begins

With sunshine and warm weather on the way, the Lake Burley Griffin water recreation season started with a splash on Sunday for the first instalment of a new kayak race.

The inaugural Lake Burley Griffin Water Week Challenge Cup saw nine teams racing over 2 kilometres from Commonwealth Place, around the Captain Cook Memorial Jet and back.

Winners of the inaugural Lake Burley Griffin Water Week Challenge Cup Ben Kirker, Morgan Evans, and Ben O'Sullivan.

Winners of the inaugural Lake Burley Griffin Water Week Challenge Cup Ben Kirker, Morgan Evans, and Ben O'Sullivan.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The event marked the beginning of Lake Burley Griffin's 27 week recreational season, running until April 14, as well as the launch of a new smartphone application and website designed to help Canberrans find their nearest summer swimming spot.

National Capital Authority event coordinator Michelle Jeffrey said perfect conditions on Sunday saw the race by won team "Two Buoys and a Girl".

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Runners up in the inaugural Lake Burley Griffin Water Week Challenge Cup Neha Pathak, Mike Goodyer, and Sophie Gulliver.

Runners up in the inaugural Lake Burley Griffin Water Week Challenge Cup Neha Pathak, Mike Goodyer, and Sophie Gulliver.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

Team members Ben Kirker, Morgan Evans and Ben O'Sullivan completed the course in just under 16 minutes.

"There's been a lot of good feedback to the challenge," she said.

"A lot of people have said they will try hard or enter a different team next year and the executive of National Capital Authority were very positive.

"Everybody finished with smiles on their faces and maybe a few sore muscles."

Manuka Pool reopens on October 28.

Manuka Pool reopens on October 28. Credit:Karleen Minney

Participant Rebecca Sorensen said she competed with two colleagues.

"With the weather warming up, it's an exciting opportunity to get out on the lake and enjoy some friendly competition.

"For me, Lake Burley Griffin is all about the fantastic recreational opportunities that it offers, right in the heart of the city," she said.

"It's not just the water activities, but the parks and open spaces surrounding it where you can run, ride your bike, have a picnic. It really is a lovely part of Canberra."

"I think the lake offers different things for different people. It was a key component in the Griffins' plans for Canberra, and so is symbolic in the sense that it's been part of the city plans from the beginning and continues to be a major feature."

The Swim Guide app and website, designed in Canada and already being used in six countries, is supported by the ACT government.

It will include water quality and swimming information on locations around Lake Burley Griffin, Lake Ginninderra, Lake Tuggeranong, the Molonglo River, Molonglo Reach, the Murrumbidgee River, Paddy's River and the Cotter River.

Canberra's public pools are also preparing to come out of winter hibernation.

Dickson Aquatic Centre reopens on Monday, October 23, Manuka Pool reopens on Saturday, October 28 and outdoor swimming at Canberra Olympic Pool in Civic begins on Wednesday, November 1.

Kimberley Le Lievre is the Editor of The Sunday Canberra Times

Tom McIlroy is a political reporter for the Financial Review in the federal press gallery at Parliament House.

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