Winter Mile Next Week

Well I have to say the water in the Bay was bloody freezing this morning. Normally I warm up after a minute or so but this morning I felt cold for every minute of my 1 hour swim at Sandridge Beach. Perhaps it was the 4-5 degree air temperature or maybe the fact that the tide was out so far – the shallow water feels a lot colder than the deeper water. Anyway, it was all good preparation for next Sunday’s Winter Mile which will be held at the Brighton Baths, my first non wetsuit open water race since this years National Masters Champs (although the water up at Yepoon was around 25 degrees and like swimming in a bath).

The race is named in honour of Harry Raisbeck, president of the Brighton Icebergers (or the “blue ballers” as I now affectionately refer to them as) for 25 years. It was not until he was 95 years old that he stopped swimming having braved the tepid waters of the bay every morning for over 45 years. Harry passed away several years ago but his legend lives on, with his name plate permanently affixed to the wall of the change rooms as a permanent reminder to his mates.

In recent years, the race has been dominated by John Van Wisse, having won it 14 times. Looking forward to my first crack at it and after a shakeout swim last Sunday , I quite liked swimming inside the amphitheatre like surrounds – despite waves breaking over the sides and quite a bit of chop. The best part is you don’t have to look up all time to keep sigthing where to go!

Will be great to have a hit out against my open water coach Chloe McCardel and see where I am at in relation to some of the legends of the sport in terms of John and Tammy Van Wisse. Best part will almost certainly be the steam room immediately after the race – hopefully it isn’t at capacity as word has it there were over 50 swimmers competing last year. I have put a link to a short video which was put together a year or so ago about the 2012 Winter Mile.


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