i love these events and i love swimming at cottesloe. i like that they are just about having fun, getting out there and participating. i never want to go to any of these open water swims and feel like i have to race. because then i will stop going. i like that i am supporting the local surf clubs. what i dont like is the bloody stingers and they were out in force yesterday. i could see them floating about and tried to quietly glide over them.
the forecast was for very windy conditions and the bougainvillea scraping over my roof all night kept reminding that the forecast was going to be accurate. but we got lucky and the wind was blowing in the right direction. water was flat and swimming north we would go with the current. for the first kilometre you could feel it helping you along and then it dropt off.
the swim was a mass deep water start in line with the pontoon at cottesloe that somehow had been painted in the colours of the swanbourne nedlands surf club. i think everytime i am at cottesloe it is in different club colours. with 485 people swimming it was quite a group. as usual i was at the back and probably gave away 20-30 metres. but i had a great start right from the beginning and felt very comfortable. i was so comfortable that by half way i was using the same stroke combination that i use in the pool. i have never done that before. usually i am breathing every stroke to my stronger side - the left. now i was swimming bilateral and breathing every third stroke. and swimming straighter. i could actually concentrate on my technique. that was until about half way and then i was hit by stingers. at first i wasnt too worried but then i got stung more and more and i could see them in the water. one got down inside the right hand side of my speedos and that hurt. both arms were hit and then my back. but i just thought about the things i could control and kept my stroke going and focused on the wonderful reef i was swimming over.
most of the time i avoided people. that skill will come. i did have to swim past a bunch of guys that didnt give an inch. i dont know why i expect people to be polite. but you would know these guys if you saw them. they probably swim together every weekend and are big and burly. probably my age. if they get in a pool they are that guy who swims past and wacks you in the head as their stroke no longer has nice high elbows. they probably are ex-surf lifesavers and still swim to rotto every year. they are not quick but they get there.
so much of what we do is all about confidence and this swim did me no harm at all. remembering it was current assisted my time was 40.01. that is 1.49 pace per 100m. not bad - not bad at all. got my t-shirt and walked back to cottesloe. this was a fantastic start to the weekend.