Pier to Perignon 2020 – Wrap Up

This year, the 2020 Pier to Perignon celebrated the event’s 32nd anniversary. From its humble beginnings, which saw close friends Ted Ballieu and Rob Robertson race from Sorrento Pier to Portsea (with the winner receiving a bottle of Dom Perignon from the loser!), the race has grown exponentially. Over thirty years later, the event – and its sparkling prize – lives on. In 2020, a record breaking 900 entrants scored a coveted spot in the swim, with positions being filled just 30 minutes after registration opened.

This year’s highlights included an acrobatic air display performed by three vintage Yak 52’s and the return of the Frankston RSL Pipe and Drums which welcomed swimmers to the race. Additionally, the Portsea Camp Oval was unveiled as the new venue for post-race presentations and refreshments.

The conditions at Point King elevated the challenges faced by swimmers, while presenting them with the opportunity to demonstrate their endurance and unique abilities. For example, it was remarked that race winner, Sam Shepherd, had appeared to body surf the entire length of Shelley Beach!


The results of this year’s leading competitors were as follows:

Male   Female
With wetsuit   With wetsuit
1st Sam Shepherd 0:31:48   Rebecca Foxton 0:38:20
2nd Lucas Tucker 0:34:06   Annabel White 0:38:47
3rd Josh Doherty 0:34:08   Molly Thwaites 0:38:49
No wetsuit   No wetsuit
1st Mark Grooby 0:38:50   Grace Hyslop 0:38:56
2nd Charles Atkins 0:39:54   Melinda Kemp 0:40:38
3rd Joel Smouha 0:40:28   Aida Tuciute 0:41:13


Firstly, a warm thank you must be given to Kay and Burton. Not only have they been the event’s major sponsor since 2004, but their presence and assistance on the big day continues to be an invaluable contribution. Additionally, I would like to personally thank Di and the team at the Portsea Camp who came to our aid by allowing the use of their wonderful oval as the venue for the end of race festivities. I think that I speak for all in saying that this venue brought an exciting new aspect to the continually evolving history of the Pier to Perignon.

Thank you to all of the external groups that donated their time, equipment and skills, including:

  • Southern Peninsula Rescue for providing two of their boats to help with water safety.
  • Moonraker for providing the use of their Sealegs.
  • Yak 52’s Acrobatic Team, who will also be performing at the Tyabb Air show on the 8th
  • Tony Dicker for providing skin checks for competitors.

Thank you also to our race sponsors, to whom we are eternally grateful for providing our swimmers with delicious food, thirst quenching drinks and environmentally friendly sun protection:

  • Emma & Toms
  • Scicluna’s of Sorrento
  • Split Rock
  • Baked in Portsea
  • People 4 Oceans


Finally, I would like to thank all of the members who worked so hard to make this race possible. This event could not take place without the continued efforts of our volunteers running the administration, registration, water safety, the start and finish lines and helping to serve the refreshments. For a volunteer organisation to provide such a professionally run event is an amazing achievement and a credit to everyone.

We hope to see you all again at next year’s swim, ready, willing and able to battle the bay once more.