Thursday, August 30, 2012

the swim

time to start thinking about the course of ironman western australia.  the busselton course is famous for a few things - one of which is the swim.  pete jacobs thinks it is the best swim course in the world.  every year there is the busselton jetty swim which is the same swim but a stand alone open water swim.  i was meant to do it but withdrew due to the low iron issue.  it would have been a great confidence booster.


the busselton jetty has been around forever and has been restored with a train that goes out to the end - the jetty is 1.8km long and straight out to sea in geographe bay.  at the end of the jetty they have an underwater observatory with an online web cam. it is probably the only open water swim course that you can walk.  i spent quite a bit of time as a kid crabbing off this jetty.  i also remember the stingers.  

so the swim starts on the right side of the jetty and you swim straight out and turn around at the end and swim back.   sounds easy right ?  while the conditions are usually quite calm this is not guaranteed.  at this years 70.3 the waves, seaweed and sun were terrible and we were only 200m offshore.  as you can see from the photo adjacent it looks like the first part would be like swimming in an aquarium - and alot of people will tell you this is true.  it is that last deep dark part that bothers me just a little bit.  

the longest open water event i have done is 2.5k so faced with 3.8k i am not concerned.  while i am not a fast swimmer i am a strong swimmer.  i plan on covering the distance as a stand alone training swim in the pool prior to the event.  i also have to test out and decide whether i want two caps or one.  i need to make sure the wetsuit is stretched and lubed up.  and i have a really good warm up.


my other dilemma is the mass start.  i have done some open water events that have been a single wave start but not this size.  i know that i will start at the back.  i dont have a problem with this as i know that i will re-gain any lost ground the further i swim. 
i have to wait until i know what the conditions are before i decide whether to start on the inside and closest to the jetty or begin on the right and allow for drift.  i want to swim with a group but not too big and hopefully i will not get bashed around too much.  


my other concern is the big bad shark.  they changed the half ironman course due to the diver fatality a bit further up the coast earlier this year.  we have had five fatal shark attacks in the last ten months.  only one was a swimmer - swimming alone at cottesloe.  sharks have been spotted around the jetty.  this supports my decision to try and swim with a group of people.  safety in numbers.  i think that if there is a sighting or an attack in this area close to the event they will not let us swim around the jetty.  they will keep us closer to shore and probably change it to a two lap course.  




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