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Report on the 9th Pattaya Cross Bay Swim

The Swim started off at the Hard Rock Hotel, were an opening speech was made by Dieter Reigber, the President of the Rotary Club of Jomtien Pattaya, the club that has organized this event for the past 9 years. He thanked both Hard Rock Hotel and Pattaya City, including the Sea Rescue service, for their continuing support over the years, without their help, the swim event would not be possible

Dieter Reigber opening the 9th Cross Bay Swim and some of the swimmers

The first part of this three-part swim was the Fun Swim from the Hard Rock Hotel 600 metres South to Central Festival. There were over 30 children from local orphanages – the Ban Jing Jai, the Child Protection and Development Center  (CPDC) and the Father Ray Children’s Home – plus other local children. 

The children of the 600m Fun Swim line up to be counted for safety check.

After Alvi Sinthuvanik told the children that the Rotary Club was buying them a burger meal at McDonalds, there was no stopping them, and as soon as Philip Wall Morris shouted “GO!, it became a Fun RUN, not fun swim, as they ran down the beach to collect their burger at Central Festival

The Fun Swim turns in to a Fun Run, with happy children.

Recent bad weather in the area has put off some of our swimmers from taking part this year, which resulted in lower numbers in the two competitive swim. Two schools were represented this year, the Bangkok Patana School and the Garden International School of Rayong.
This year, as well as medical care by the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, we had support from the Sawangboriboon Foundation, both on land with their ambulance on standby and with the Rescue Book adding more safety for the swimmers. The Sawangboriboon Foundation are Pattaya’s everyday EMT service.

The 1.2km short swim competitors line up, with the safety boats at the ready.

The 1.2Km started on time by Ronny Heltne, the event Manager, but after about 20 minutes, there was one of the sudden rainstorms that Pattaya has been experiencing this month.  With this year’s increased safety, thanks to both Pattaya City Sea Rescue and the Sawangboriboon Foundation, there was about one boat for every three swimmers.  The swimmers chose to swim on, and all came safety ashore.



Sea Rescue jet ski shadows a swimmer in the water to protect them.




Even under such conditions the swimmers made good time, with the ladies coming in at: Natalya Liuner 26:18, Jasmine Gebbie 27:08 & Jojina Wilson 29:10 and the men’s times were:  Mark Liuner 30:12, Pichet Khokradsamrong & Nattapol Yingyual both at 35:50. The slowest swimmer was 38:21, and two swimmers decided to come in on the safety boats.
The weather got worse, so Vutikorn Kamolchote , the location Manager at Bali Hai, decided to postpone the 3.5 Km event until the bad weather passed, as it does quickly here. After a while, it was all calm again and the rain gone, and the Long swim started 45 minutes late. This year the swim started off the Siam Bayshore beach near Bali Hai, which was the same distance due to the curve of the bay.

Chris Lo , Ronny Heltne, Luke Gebbie & Nic Wilson with Noeh Kean Boon, Resident Manager of Dusit Thai Pattaya


Margaret Granger of Hand2Hand come ashore as 1st place in the ladies 3.5 km race.

Kevin Tompkins comes ashore, knowing he has raised 16,000 Baht sponsorship


Nic Wilson of Bangkok Patana School, where he is head of sports, beating his last record of 43 mins by a new record of 36 minutes 34 seconds, won the 3.5km race again. Followed closely by Luke Gebbie.







The medal winners and some of the organising team.

The full results were: Mens: Nic Wilson 36:34, Luke Gebbie 37:22 & Christopher Lo 47:40, and Ladies: Margaret Grainger 65:15 & Kristina Solheim 67:38. The slowest swimmer was 72:45, with one swimmer pulled from the water at 90:00 minutes, which was the maximum time allowed by Sea Rescue. No only should Kevin’s perseverance be applauded but he also raised a personal sponsorship of 16,000 Baht for the Children’s Fund 
The swimmers, joined by the event helpers, enjoyed a sumptuous buffet provide for the 9th year by the Dusit Thani Pattaya. It was a true 4 star (gala) buffet. There were soft drinks on tap, with Paulaner Beer donated by Ken Whitty, of the “Paulanergarten” at Royal Garden Plaza.
Mr Neoh Kean Boon, Resident Manager at the Dusit Thai Pattaya, presented medals in true Olympic style to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places of each category. Dieter Reigber thanked him for their continued support for the annual Pattaya Cross Bay Swim and looked forward to the event next year.


Our Sponsors for the 9th Cross Bay Swim

Normally, people drift off home, but not this year, as they have added an afternoon of entertainment at Central Festival Pattaya Beach at their large outdoor atrium “The Sunken” that can house thousands of spectaculars. Very special were the MC’s continuously switched Thai and English and made everybody feel the presentation was in their language. The famous team from Pattaya People Radio 96.0 fm Rose and Barry were joined with the movie star Sam Machieldsen, brilliant job which kept a constant almost full crowd entertained for 3 hours.
There was a full programme of events starting with the Father Ray Foundation that had 4 impressive shows dancing and singing from Pre-school to bigger children and finally more than 20 children from the School for the Blind.  The Redemptorist school for Children with Special Needs impressed with entertaining dance show.
The Mercy Center had many shows and so had Ban Jing Jai Orphanage with beautiful girls showing traditional Thai dances with elegant dresses, whereas the boys showed modern dances with break dance additions.


A member of the Pesuso Taekwondo team breaking two boards while in mid air.

The Pesuso Taekwondo team had a flashing show with children and even a star who jumped over 4 standing children and smashed a wooden plank before landing.
Nikitina Dance Studio was a contrast showing tiny slim beautiful girls in gold dresses with classic dance, and even more shows until the Russian modern Robot dancing got the full applause.
Pattaya has more than 200 active Break Dancers and in 2 shows we could see the “Sa Crew New Wave” showing us what Pattaya offers in the Battle of the Year Thailand.
Just to show the many different talents, we have a former Break Dancer – now top Magician now performing daily at the Tuxedo
The evening ended with the presentation of the Trophies, with Niels Colov, CEO of Pattaya People Media as the MC.   Ronakit Ekasingh, Deputy Mayor of Pattaya City was Guest of Honour, who spoke about Pattaya City’s support of the event and applauded the humanitarian work carried out by the Rotary. MC Niels Colov translated the Deputy Mayor’s speech to the gathered crowd in “The Sunken”.  Dieter Reigber thanked our main sponsors, BBX and Hjellgjerge, for their contribution and Central Festival for such a wonderful venue, then spoke how proud he was about the successful event and how the money raised will help the community.

MC Niels Colov with Natalya Liuner, Ronakit Eckasingh and Jojina Wilson

Nic Wilson receiving the winner’s trophy for the 3.5 km swim from President Dieter Reigber.

Ronakit Ekasingh, assisted by Dieter Reigber and Martin Brands, then presented the Trophies to the winners.
The event ended around 7:15 pm. It had been a successful day, despite the bad weather earlier in the day.
Graham Hunt-Crowley
Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya