Report on Commonwealth Bank's Intranet of stoic swim teams under Blue Bottle adversity

Last Saturday morning, a team of keen swimmers set off after a briefing at Blues Point from under the Harbour Bridge, for an 11 kilometre swim to Manly Cove. Along with some of Australia's top aquatic athletes, including long distance swimmer Susie Maroney, Global Financial Services and Institutional Banking teamed together with clients and their legal counsels to enter a contingent of 33 participants.

The event was coordinated by Phil Johnston from the Industry team. He wanted to offer something a little different to the normal corporate events and thought with the popularity of open water swimming, it would be a great networking opportunity.

"When people come together with the same focus and there's a job to do, there is an amazing amount of bonding," said Phil. "It was a great way for people who work together to get to know each other on a different level."

Phil received praise from all of the team for his fantastic efforts in organising the event. Daniel wrote to thank Phil on behalf of the Freehills' participants: "It was an inspired idea to bring the Bank, its clients and advisers together to put our combined efforts into an event like this. If it wasn't for all your hard work, it would never have been more than an idea."

There were four teams of swimmers with a boat and paddlers for each to ensure their safety. Participants came from the Bank and its industry clients; Clayton Utz, Leightons, Freehills, Challenger Financial and Macquarie Bank. Most of the swimmers were experienced in open water events and the four teams had a chance to meet each other during training sessions at the Boy Charlton Pool.

A large swarm of bluebottles entered the harbour from the Heads during the event and officials instructed some participants to stop the swim at the 7 kilometre mark. Many carried on and had nasty stings as a result. In the final kilometre two of CBA's boat teams swam into Manly together to show their camaraderie.

Monica Mather from Colonial First State is allergic to bluebottles and was unlucky enough to be stung just before reaching the shore. "I guess you can't control sea creatures," Monica said. "I copped a nasty one just as we decided to do the last 100 metres. After some quality time in the North Shore hospital, oxygen, anti-histamine and some drugs later I was OK.

Despite the traumatic end to the afternoon for Monica, she was very positive about her experience and was grateful for the chance to compete and to get to know her fellow team members. "There are a lot of great people out there and it was just nice to spend some time with them."