Thursday, December 30, 2010

November & December Swims

6 Events completed in Nov/Dec, about 20k total:
- Penrith Ripples St Marys 5k
- Pan Pacs Masters Gold Coast 5k
- Terrigal 5k
- Cockatoo Island 2.5k
- Coogee 1k
- Bondi to Bronte 2k

Swim distance tally up to about 30k so far this season, a liitle behind where I was this time last year
Will try to grab a few of the longer endurance swims at the back of this season
Targetting a couple 5k freshwater swims last week of January, need a couple of big training weeks now to get ready

Monday, December 13, 2010

Coogee Spring Bronze 2010

I completed the Bronze Medallion & Surf Rescue Certificate Course at Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club this year
It was good to learn some new skills
The physical side of the course was quite challenging
Most training sessions involved some amount of soft sand running, I didn't realise lifesavers had to do some much running!
Qualification for the course required completion of a 400m surf swim under 9 minutes.
The Bronze assessment required completion of a Run/Swim/Run 200/200/200 under 8 minutes, a Theory Assessment - first aid, resus, comms - and a Surf Assessment - rescues and scenarios

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dawny Cockatoo Island Swim 2.5k Sun. 21st November

Pulled up well after Terrigal swim Saturday, so headed down to Balmain Sunday for the Dawny Swim around Cockatoo Island
Good day for it, Started on the high tide. Harbour water was as usual a little green and murky and jellyblubbery but clean
Went at a reasonably strong pace the whole way, and feeling strong at the end
Time was slower than last year, probably not so much tide assistance this year

Terrigal OW Swim Carnival 5k Sat. 20th November

Terrigal Open Water Swim Carnival 5k
2 laps around a 2.5k circuit of Terrigal Beach
Part of the NSW Swimming Marathon Series

I underestimated the conditions and overestimated my condition on this one.
Thought I might go more than 5k if I was feeling good enough, so I signed up for the 10k swim-through
Really just to give myself an option to keep going after 5k if I felt strong enough
Conditions looked perfect, but once we got out of the shelter of Terrigal Haven and into the wind, the swell and chop picked up, and that part of it was actually quite tough
Had one little "lost-at-sea" moment on the 2nd lap, I was feeling seasick so I stuck my head up about 800m offshore to see who was around if I needed help - no swimmers, no craft in sight - maybe not such a good idea to keep going for another 2 laps without a drink or a support paddler
Starting to feel the cold (water 19c) after an hour in the water
In the end I was happy to finish the 5k (2 laps) in a reasonable time 1:48, a few minutes less than my 5k time from 2 weeks ago

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pan Pacific Masters Games Gold Coast 5k, 14th November 2010

Medal Winners
What are YOU looking at ?

Pan Pacific Masters Games 5k Open Water Swim
Lake Hugh Muntz, Mermaid Waters, freshwater lake
Water was warm and a little green murky, but clean enough
5k course was 4 laps around a 1.25k circuit
Run by QLD Masters Swimming, was quite relaxed, a few improvisations along the way like the finish line being a water-polo goal with the net cut out 
Mentally, having to go around the course 4 times was quite tough, tiring after 1 lap and still 3 laps to go
Settled into the 2nd half of the race and enjoyed that more
Time 1:40:07
Went home with some medals, gold in the team event (Seas The Limit) and silver in my age category

Penrith Ripples St Marys OW Swim 5k, 7th November 2010

Open Water Swim 5k at the Sydney Regatta Centre (fresh water) 2 laps around a rectangular course
Water fairly cool for November about 21c and patches of colder
Still in training for longer swims this season, arms hurting the last lap
Time 1:51:07
About the same as I was doing for these swims last year

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coogee Winter Swim

Wrapped in a green swell
The misty cold water bites -
I feel safe out here

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Magnetic Island to Townsville Swim 8k 18th July

That was a hard swim, 8k across Cleveland Bay
No part of it was easy
Big wind swell and chop all the way
Swimming against the current near the end
Water a bit murky
A tough 8k's
Felt good to finish
And good to have experienced a longer swim in tough conditions

The start was a bit rushed. Not helped by my allocated paddler not showing up at Picnic Bay and me being the only swimmer walking up and down the beach 15 minutes before the start looking for another paddler. Luckily a couple of youngsters had shown up as reserve paddlers and they got me a start

Anyway those hard maintenance squad sessions in the cold & windy outdoor pool at Sans Souci the last few weeks must have been good preparation. I was able to keep going at a consistent medium-slow pace for the whole 3 hours. Feeling ok at the end. Time 3:07:52.
And some other solo swimmers finished behind me, so I'm happy with that result.

Picnic Bay
Helicopter Photos: Karen Uhlmann

Leader at marker
Last stroke

Monday, July 12, 2010

Training for Townsville

Townsville from Magnetic Is. (doesn't look that far!)

Last week of building distance in training for the swim next weekend, 5 training swims, total distance 20k
Starting to get a good "feel" for the water that comes after swimming every day (almost). Stroke feels easier, can maintain a consistent solid swimming pace in the water for about an hour before starting to slow down.
So all the 100m & 200m target swims in the pool at Chad's "maintenance" squad sessions starting to pay off, just in time.
Still a few weeks away from peak swimming fitness, I might have underestimated the rigours of winter training. Feeling more confident.
Colleen from Magnetic Island Swim called to confirm my paddler for next week. She said the race is starting on an incoming tide, so it would "carry us across" the channel. Here's hoping.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

MS 24-Hour Megaswim 26th-27th June

Report from the organisers:
"The 3rd annual 24 Hour Mega Swim has been the most successful and enjoyable yet, and was a fantastic weekend all round - plenty of smiling faces pool side amongst our 437 swimmers.
Participants from this year's 24 Hour Mega Swim have fundraised a record breaking $192,012 so far - more than any other Sydney Mega Swim has ever raised! This money will go a long way into providing Go for Gold Scholarships to people living with multiple sclerosis to help them follow their dreams."

Team results:
19th Seas The Limit Rebels 76.2k Points 411.6
21st Seas the Limit 89.3k Points 333.2

Seas The Limit Rebels have collected a total of $2,632

Distances (kms):
Adam 4.8
Bev 1.4
Claire 2.7
Cormac 6.4
Harriet 3.1
Jo 3.3
Justine 3.6
Kurt 6.8
Mike 2.9
Murray 6.4
Nathan 5.2
Pete 3.4
Richard 5.4
Rodney 5.0
Rosie 3.3
Suzy 10.5
Others STL 2.0
Total Team Distance Swum 76.2 kilometers

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Winter Training

Coogee Beach this morning (almost)

I can see why open water swimming is mostly a summer sport.
The water at the beaches is getting cooler. The days are short. It's harder to get up early for training. Even training at night in the heated outdoor pool is tougher with the cold air temperature.

Anyway, it's too late to back out now.
I've entered the Magnetic Island to Townsville (Queensland) swim in 2 weeks.

I enforced a month off in May to get some protection and rest after a busy last season, then lost a couple weeks in June with the usual winter head colds
Getting back into it, though
I clocked up about 18k in training this week, including 3 of Chad's tough squads and a 3k non-stop swim in "freezing" 16c water at Coogee this morning
Thanks to the small group who stopped and waited for me to catch up halfway to the island. Usually they leave me on my own 100 yards out the back doing the rearguard shark patrol.

Will have to work hard next week to clock up some distance, before tapering a little next week.
In terms of fitness I'm about where I was at the end of last season (the Coogee- Bondi 5k swim), maybe a little slower and a bit stronger.
Not quite where I wanted to be before an 8k journey swim, but it will have to do
I might be able to bluff myself into making it across
Looking forward to it, actually

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

And the Last shall be First

12 months of swimming tragic

Extract From oceanswims:
Distance Tallies 2009/10
"Fine ocean swimmers, indeed ...

The 2009/10 season is done. And the winner, who swam a greater distance than anyone else of the 39,730 swimmers included in our season tallies, is... RICHARD ... regular oceanswims blobber ... in Sydney. Richard tallied 91.7km over the course of the 2009/10 season, which ended on May 31. Then followed three Western Stray'ans, Rod .. (89km), Michael .. (78.9km), and Jenna .. (75.9km), closely followed by last year's talliest, Tacoma Jim .. (74.9km)."

Monday, May 31, 2010

New data reveals sharks love Sydney

Skynews 29th May 2010:
"New data from a state government shark tracking programme shows bull sharks love to live in Sydney Harbour and some swim far up its waterways, including up Parramatta River and Middle Harbour.
Information from the programme, which has been tracking 11 male bull sharks tagged in 2009 and 2010 also reveals the creatures have been lurking off Bondi, Bronte, Clovelly, Coogee and Malabar beaches.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan says the tracking program's helping develop a better understanding about the movements of bull sharks and potentially identify any dangerous areas for water users."

Can't swim with them, can't swim without them
I've also been "lurking" off Bondi, Bronte, Clovelly, Coogee, Malabar beaches
Perhaps that was me that the state government was tracking

Thursday, May 6, 2010

End of Season

Coogee Sunset ?
or is that a moon rising

That will be the end of season for me 2009-2010.
The Bondi swims on 3rd May were cancelled (big surf), so the Coogee to Bondi swim on 28th April was a fitting end to a good season.
Covered a total distance about 92k, could have been a little more but I was a bit unlucky with having 4 swims cancelled for one reason or another (about 11k) with me geared up on the start line.
I'll rest up the next couple weeks, then back into training for an endurance swim I'm planning in July.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April Swims

6 events completed in April:
- Culburra 2k
- Shellharbour 1.2k
- Mollymook (2+0.5) 2.5k
- South Curl Curl 2k
- Terrigal (2+1) 3k
- Coogee-Bondi 5k
2 swims called off on the beach:
- Tamarama-Clovelly (big surf & shark sighting)
- Bondi (big surf)
Total April swims = 15.7k

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coogee to Bondi 25th April

Bird vs. Plane

Coogee to Bondi 5k ocean swim
Anzac Day 25th April 2010
First year this swim has been run without compulsory paddler escorts for swimmers
Perfect conditions for an endurance swim - Raining/overcast, but no wave, wind or swell
Water temp ok about 20c
Swim out from Coogee beach around the first marker, which was a water safety boat off Giles Point
Then straight across Gordons Bay and Clovelly to Shark Point around another water safety boat - swimming through deep green water and thousands of  little white jellyblubbers
Follow the cliffs past Waverley cemetery around buoys off Bronte Beach & Tamarama Beach
Really close around Mackenzies Point into Bondi
Swam over a huge school of big mullet or salmon at Bondi
Swam close to all the markers, but went a bit too wide into Bondi, covered some extra distance
Fast and easy swim in the flat conditions
Had plenty of energy left to go hard at the finish
Distance on the day was around 4.5k because we could swim so close to the headlands
On a day with bigger swell we'd have to swim wider and it would be close to the full 5k
Time 1.22.54
I'm happy with that for my first 5k ocean swim, maintained under 2 minute pace in the good conditions

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Terrigal 18th April

Misty Morning

Terrigal, NSW central coast, 1k & 2k ocean swims

Flat conditions, smooth water, bit of a swell further out
In-water start and run up the beach to finish
Good conditions, I was able to go hard all the way in both swims
Stayed for the presentation and went home with the main lucky door prize, a stay at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal
Time 1k 21:24 (might have been about 1.1k or 1.2k)
Time 2k 42:31

Saturday, April 17, 2010

South Curl Curl 17th April

2km Journey swim from South Curl Curl Beach around the headland to Freshwater Beach.
Good swim at CurlyFresh this morning, well organised and run.
The really quick and efficient registrations and the free sausage sizzle on the deck afterwards were a couple of good examples.
Perfect conditions - dive under a couple big waves at Curly on the way out, follow the cliffs and the buoys-of-many-colours, and swim against a rip to a tricky finish position at Freshie.
And a pleasant barefoot "walk-of-success" along the course on the smooth boardwalk back to Curly.
Time 40:06

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mollymook 11th April

Mollymook Beach ocean swim
Good conditions, gentle swell
Offshore wind starting blowing up during the race
Last stretch was tough from final turning buoy straight into the wind to the beach
500m swim Time 10:09
2k swim Time 44:27
250m dash for cash

Shellharbour Saturday 10th April

Shellharbour Ocean Swim 1.2k
From the boat harbour around the point to the beach
First time I've been to Shellharbour
Lovely day and good conditions
Went hard at full pace all the way
I thought it might have been a little further, it felt like about 1.4k
Time 27:09

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tamarama to Clovelly Cancelled 5th April

Unfortunately I didn't get to start in this event, the race was cancelled before half the competitors left the beach. I suspect this decision had more to do with the treacherous surf conditions at the start and finish than the shark spotting. There's "always" sharks around on that stretch of coastline, I think IRBs buzzing around for 2 hours would be likely to spot one on any day.

Media Report (Daily Telegraph):
"Shark sightings, heavy seas and a partial cancellation - yesterday's ocean race between Tamarama and Clovelly had it all.
More than 500 swimmers were already in the water for the tough annual charity swim when organisers spotted a large shark.
Organisers did not allow the rest of the field - several hundred swimmers - to start the 2.5km race for safety reasons.
There was thought to be just one shark but organiser Chris Glover said three sightings and the rough conditions meant there was no way the race could continue.
"It was pretty wild. Conditions were a bit bigger than forecast and the shark wasn't exactly invited. The shark was big enough that we deemed it appropriate to cancel the event," Mr Glover said."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Culburra Beach Saturday 3rd April

Not drowning but waving


Tilbury Classic 2k
Retro-swimming with Nowra-Culburra SLSC
I knew it would be good day yesterday when I arrived at the Nowra-Culburra surf club to see a pod of dolphins feeding in the surf not 20m from shore

In fact I was so intent in watching the dolphins that I missed most of the pre-race briefing in the surf club
Not a problem I thought, I'll just keep the cans on my left and follow the other swimmers
I didn't hear that part about the "washing-machine" conditions around the headland or the fierce sweep in the surf at the start

It was certainly an interesting swim in many ways
The weather was overcast, then sunny, then raining, no sunny, then raining really hard
There was a big southerly swell, but safe enough to start the race on the high tide
The swim was scheduled to run from Tibury Cove at Culburra Beach south around the headland to Warrain Beach, The organisers sensibly reversed the direction of the swim so that swimmers would avoid finishing through the messy surf conditions at Warrain Beach

It was a small group of around 75 swimmers that lined up on the beach. Only one start wave, young and old stood together for the head count to make sure that what went in was the same as what came out
We started 100m south of the first marker, the sweep and rip knocked me off my feet and helped push me to the turning buoy
The big swell out the back made navigation a little difficult
Encountered the washing-machine conditions on a shallow reef off the headland
Spotted lots of fishes, I swam over 3 little rays
Actually that was probably 1 little ray I swam over 3 times, at one stage the current was pushing me almost backwards as I swam forwards, until a surge pushed me clear of the bommie
The last couple hundred metres into Tilbury Cove was smooth, there was even a little wave in the cove that I could ride onto the beach
As is my custom with these away-from-home swims, I lined up with some elite swimmers in the 400m "dash for cash" and surprisingly didn't finish last

I really enjoyed this swim and the morning at Culburra
It had a real "old school" feel about it
A nice change from the busy ocean swims in Sydney
The organisers were friendly but left nothing to chance on water safety

Time 47:03
Couple navigation stops and swimming against the current around the headland
It felt further than a 2k ocean swim

Monday, March 29, 2010

March Swims

5 events completed in March:
- Lake Macquarie 3.8k
- Manly (1+2) 3k
- Cronulla (1+2.3) 3.3k
- Balmoral 1k
- North Steyne 1k
Total 12k swum in March

Should get close to the 100k mark by May
There's 25k of oceans swims around NSW in April
The calendar starts getting compressed this time of year with ocean swims on every Saturday Sunday and public holiday
I'll have to look at doing all of them

Sunday, March 28, 2010

North Steyne 28th March

North Steyne (Manly) Sunday 28th March
Vertigo fail
1k ocean swim
North Steyne surf club to Queenscliff and back
Swam the 1k short swim slowly trying not to look up and finished ok but feeling pretty dizzy afterwards
Didn't have the stomach to do the longer swim today
I'll rest up this week and get them next weekend

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Balmoral 21st March


Balmoral 1k harbour swim
Beautiful day on Sydney Harbour, flat water and clear
Turned out to be a bit of a spint, went hard all the way
Quite crowded at times with large wave numbers, lost some momentum swimming around other swimmers
Time 19:21

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gear 1 Challenge 20th March

Gear 1 Challenge, Seas The Limit Club Event, Botany Pool
How many laps can you swim in 2 hours ?
Started ok, first hour on just under 2:00 pace
Couldn't maintain - slowed down to around 2:05 after 90 minutes
No shoulder pain or leg cramps after 2 hours, which was good
Arms tiring near the end, more training needed for longer swims.
Total swum 116 laps = 5.8k

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cronulla Shark Island Swim 14th March


Cronulla Shark Island Swim 2.3k
Cronulla Beach Swim 1k
On Saturday morning I inadvertently pranked a fellow-swimmer at Coogee by telling her that the swarm of Purple Jellyfish lurking just beyond the breakers was quite harmless. She was not happy yesterday after then swimming through the swarm and being stung many times by those same purple jellyfish. It was an honest mistake, albeit a little ill-informed.
Today was payback day.
With the same Easterly wind blowing in at Cronulla and tell-tale purple blobs washed up along the shoreline, I knew it would not be an easy swim.
King Neptune served up hundreds of stinging purple jellyfish at Cronulla today. Not as thick as at Coogee yesterday, but difficult to swim through nevertheless. Then into the mix he added thousands of the harmless white jellyblubbers, so swimmers could not be sure if they were grabbing a harmless jellyblubber or a stinger with every stroke.
I did the 1k "warm-up" swim first. I swam into a few stingers on the way out, a couple of them brushed my legs with their tentacles, some little stings, but no trouble at all.
I had a plan to avoid the stingers in the main 2.3k swim. I knew where they would be, and by swimming with my head forward in the clear water, I could spot them and meander past before they got me. As I approached the first turning buoy in deep water about 400m out, I was congratulating myself on my successful strategy. I never saw the creature that hit me in the back, but it must have been a whopper. It felt like I had been tasered in the kidneys. Like a slow racehorse that had been jiggered by an unscrupulous trainer, I accelerated in the water to get away from the swarm.
Actually the sting wore off quite quickly, so by the time I finished the race it had gone. On the way back in I had made friends with the little purple jellyfish and quite enjoyed watching them swimming underwater. The sea bottom around Shark Island was lovely with plenty of fish to be seen in the clear water. I really enjoyed these swims today.
1k time 20.09
2.3k time 52.17
I held about the same pace for both swims, there were a few currents around the island which might have slowed me down a little on the longer swim.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Manly, Sunday 7th March

Manly Daily Ocean Swim, 1k & 2k ocean swims
Had to get back to Sydney Saturday nite, so I did these 2 swims at Manly on Sunday.
Did the 1k swim first as a warm-up, shoulder a bit stiff from the Lake Macquarie swim yesterday.
1k swim from Shelley Beach around to finish at Manly Beach. Sheltered inside the bay, a bit rough outside.
Started at the back to warm up slowly, then had to swim through a wall of breastrokers nearer the finish. Time 19:38
The 2k swim was more fun. Started in the middle of Manly beach, first leg was about 600m out to sea straight into the Easterly wind and chop. Then fight through a big swell to Fairy Bower, across the bay and back to Manly beach, where there was a bit of a wave on.
Good swim, tough conditions. Time 42:48