Over winter 2012, while I knew I wanted to swim Rottnest Channel I didn’t really worry about it that much; I did my 20 swims during winter at Bold and Beautiful to get my “Cold and Beautiful” badge and my “WWW” (Winter Without Wetsuit) badge. Many weekends I was swimming with my growing band of swim buddies, the Frosty Nuts.
My preparation officially (at least in my mind) started on Saturday 20 October 2012 when the Frosties swam from Manly Wharf to Balmoral, an enjoyable 6.5km spring swim; for weeks (maybe months) I’d been convincing myself I did not need to go to squad. I knew my stroke wasn’t perfect but thought I’d get by. This day proved me wrong; I was embarrassingly slow once I’d tired and held everyone up.
The following week I started training at Vladswim (see INSPIRATIONS) and really went on and one from there. I have learnt to love the blue line, that chlorine is king, the joy of endless tumble turns and that physical pain and exhaustion can be overcome by more swimming. Between Sat 20 October and Rottnest Channel swim on 23 Feb this year I swam a staggering 481 km!
The Frosties did some great swims during this period: Barrenjoey Head, from Palm Beach ferry wharf to Bilgola (stopped at the ocean side of Palm Beach after 5km of tough choppy swimming due to a sighting of one of the “men in grey suits”… safety first, we were glad to have a support boat that day (John Oliver and his “Truck”); we swam from Manly to Bondi on a pretty unpleasant day in January. That it took us 5 1/2 hours to do 13 km is testament to the pretty shocking conditions we swam through, but what a swim… 10 km of sheer cliff face only broken up by a 2 km dash between the heads of Sydney Harbour. Many more challenging and beautiful swims as well as a mind-numbing 15 km training swim in the pool on a rainy Saturday morning!
I really am grateful to the Frosty Nuts for experiencing some amazing parts of Sydney (that most never get to see) with me.