Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Swims

6 Open Water Swims this month, mix of ocean and freshwater:
- Newport 2k
- North Bondi Classic (2k+1k) 3k
- Avalon 1.5k
- Penrith Bridge to Bridge 3k/5k
- Lake Glenbawn 5k
- The Big Swim Palm Beach to Whale Beach 2.5k
Total swims distance in January 19k

The Big Swim - Palm Beach to Whale Beach 31st January

Photo: Debbie Racklyeft

Palm Beach to Whale Beach 2.5k
Big swell at both beaches
Easterly wind and chop around the headland
A little easier once we were past the headland, seemed to be a swell pushing us towards Whale Beach
Was able to swim at quite a strong consistent pace the whole way, didn't get tired, went a little quicker at the finish
Time reported 55:36, I make it 52:36 - the clock said 11.22 when I finished (started at 10.30)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lake Glenbawn Classic 5k

An unlikely winner

Lake Glenbawn Classic - 5k open water swim - Australia Day 2010 -
Giant eels, small waves and an unlikely age category winner.

The locals at Aberdeen warned me about the legendary giant eels "as long a telegraph pole" that live in Lake Glenbawn. But I wouldn't see them, as they retreat to deep water when the water is warm. And they were right about the warm water - I'd say a balmy 25c on average. Air temp in the mid-3O's on a hot summer day in the Upper Hunter Valley. A perfect setting for a lake swim on Australia Day 2010.
The Lake Glenbawn Classic offers a choice of 3 events - 1k (one lap), 3k (3 laps)or 5k (5 laps) around a rectangular course. Being built for comfort (I ain't built for speed), I opted for the longer 5k swim and lined up in the water to start with the small contingent of green caps and blue caps.
The water was muddy close to shore where the red earth had been churned up by swimmers feet and the wake of boats, but further out the water was clean with good enough visibility.
I found myself swimming on my own in clear water for most of the course, a welcome change from some recent crowded ocean swims in Sydney. Just me, my thoughts and the deep green water, and a glimpse of a water safety paddler or boat every time I turned to breathe. Arms hurting after 3 laps, I had a fleeting thought of following the 3k swimmers as they swam past the turning buoy to the finish.
But continued onto a 4th lap ... straight into a headwind that had suddenly come up and was churning up a one-foot chop on the lake. Swallowed water a few times as I lifted my head into the chop to spot the next marker. It didn't taste too bad. Slow going the last 2 laps with the headwind, finished strongly once the finish line was in sight.
This was a lovely swim and well run and organised. I enjoyed spending 2 days in the Upper Hunter Valley. My prize of a handcrafted plate for winning my age category was unexpected and appreciated. Thanks to the Scone Swimming Club for their hospitality at Lake Glenbawn.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Penrith Bridge to Bridge Swim 5k & 3k

Penrith "Bridge to Bridge" 3k Open water swim, with a 5k swim-through
Overcast sky, Water was warm about 27c
First lap 3k - was hard, shoulders and arms hurting
Settled better for the 2nd lap
Times were slow, I didn't prepare for this race or have any race plan, More of a training swim, just turned up on the day and swam the distance
3k Bridge to Bridge time 1:06:59
5k time 1:55:29

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Avalon 17th January

Ocean swim, about 1.6k
Circuit around Avalon Beach
Warm water, light wind, not much swell
Run out along the northern head of Avalon, south then back in to the beach.
Was able to maintain a strong and consistent pace for the whole race
Time 32.34

A comment later from water safety:
"Yes there were two sharks but 5 boats went over and made sure that it left the area.
We did not alarm the beach nor want the shark alarm to go off. Can you imagine 1,000 swimmers trying to get out of the water at the same time???
I felt that what we did was the best decision. We knew where the sharks were and if we felt that the swimmers would be in harm, then other actions would of been made."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

North Bondi Roughwater 10th January 2010

North Bondi - It was one of those days where it paid to enter both swims - and experience 2 swims in quite different conditions on the same morning.
The earlier 1k swim (1.2k?)was like a gentle paddle around an aquarium - no wave, calm sea, crystal clear water - following the schools of little fish and track marks of sea creatures accross the sandy bottom.
After the SouthEaster blew in mid-morning and chopped up the course, the organisers sensibly shortened the 2k course (1.8k?) and moved the 3rd turning buoy in from past Mackenzies point to give swimmers some cover from the worst of it. Water was still clear and could see the bottom all the way, but the chop all the way made the course much more challenging. Especially the trek to the first turning buoy -trudge 50m through knee-deep water then swim 400m straight into the chop with no assistance from any rip on the day.
The organisers were well-prepared for the extra numbers of swimmers this year - short queues at registration, wave starts on time and well-spaced, very little congestion - I had clear water in front of me most of the way on both swims, except for the "gate" - got caught up in a little traffic jam there on both swims - not sure what was the purpose of that little zig-zag turn near the finish. Plenty of fresh fruit for all and the presentations were right on time. Water safety was everywhere in their fluorescent green skivvies, some might say too much, after I almost rammed a surf boat that was stationed to shepherd me back onto the course.
I'm looking forward to doing both swims again at North Bondi at their next event in February
Time "1k" 26:34 easy / warm-up - time out spotting the little sea creatures
Time "2k" 40:09
Not so good, I've got slower in Dec/Jan, Need to get back on track with more doing more squads and interval training.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Newport 3rd January 2010

Newport 'Pool to Peak' ocean swim 2k
Quite tough conditions, Raining & choppy
Water warm about 23c
South toward the pool, into the swell and chop,
Then out to sea, then swam north with the southerly swell towards the peak and back to the surf club.
Went a little too hard sprinting after the 2nd last turning buoy, slowed down nearer the finish
Time 40.21