Shivering Shags – the coolest dudes around


Gavin McMahon, Tyler Burrows, Simon Devitt, Eamonn Armitage, John Moore and Mark Regan.
Gavin McMahon, Tyler Burrows, Simon Devitt, Eamonn Armitage, John Moore and Mark Regan.

FOR the Fremantle Shivering Shags, the inclination to swim rises as the mercury drops.

Now in its 41st year, the winter swim club meets every Sunday morning beginning in April and ending in September.

The tradition began in 1976 with a group of Fremantle-based rugby and football players meeting for early morning recovery sessions at a private pool.

A growth in membership led to a relocation to Bicton Pool and nowadays between 20 and 30 swimmers congregate each Sunday.

Secretary Tyler Burrows said recovery was still a focus but admitted it was not always from athletic pursuits.

“We do it for the camaraderie and recovery from Saturday night,” he said.

“Some guys treat it as fitness but its not all about that and most of us just enjoy swimming and getting together on a Sunday morning at an ungodly hour in the middle of winter.”

The hour and a half swim sessions start at 8am sharp and are followed by a soup and barbecue breakfast.

“We swim in a water polo pool which is 33m long and have one, two and three laps races,” Mr Burrows said.

“Everyone is off at a handicap time so depending on how good the handicapper is you should all come into the wall at the same time.

“Whoever comes first is put into finals, where you get handicapped again.

“We keep a tally of who has the most points from race wins and that goes towards trophies at the end of the year.”

The Shivering Shags also host regular club events and occasional swim contests against brother club Cottesloe Crabs.

The club is open to all men, including fathers and sons, but official swim counts only begin once a member has turned 18.

The first swim for the season is on Sunday, April 3 at Bicton Pool. First time swimmers pay $10 and full membership is then $50 per year.