On Sunday 14 December 2014 the Mentone Surf Life Saving Club put on round one of the Victorian Open Water Swim Series. Although this event has been held in the past, I had never swum it so was looking forward to something new.
This year I have decided to swim both the short and long course events so that meant a 2.5km swim followed by a 1.5 hour break, then a 1km swim. The 2.5km course had a deep water start followed by a straight swim down south (approximately 1.5km) then a straight swim back to the club house (approximately 1km). The shorter 1km swim course was a big “m shape” which was a bit different.
I arrived bright and early (8am) and walked down to the beach for a look. Conditions were absolutely perfect as the photo below shows. Calm flat seas and a burning sun – the temperature was already 22 degrees on its way to 30+.
Unfortunately the wind changed and by the time the long swim was due to start, the temperature had noticeably dropped and the flat seas were replaced with white caps (see picture below courtesy of the PowerPoints swim club).
To be honest I wasn’t that upset as I knew the rougher conditions would suit me better than the majority of pool swimmers in attendance who probably hadn’t been in the ocean until now this season. After a few delays, we were ushered out to the starting point about 200m offshore to await the starting horn. Once we got started, I had no idea where anyone else was and just focussed on swimming at a pace which would put me into the “aerobic zone”, or as my coach Nic says, “feeling uncomfortable” – that point between an easy swim and a flat-out effort. About 500m in I started passing people from the previous wave and that continued right through to the end. I swam relatively straight however like many others, was confused when I reached a purple coloured turning buoy and was forced to stop – as it turns out the turn was at the third purple buoy and not the first. The swim back to the club house seemed to be straight into the wind and because we were swimming closer to shore, seemed to be right on top of the sand bar in the wave breaking area. Thank god it was the shorter length and before I knew it I was on the beach. Swim time was 35:34 which I was reasonably happy with – 1st in my age group and 3rd overall.
Knowing I had to back up in an hour or so, I quickly got some fluids in and an energy gel and rested up. Before I knew it, we got the call to the start line for the 1km swim. I was feeling really tired and seeing some of my main age group competition in Tim Guille and Mark Bailey didn’t make me feel any better. I watched Anthony Purcell the surf specialist go off in the first wave and swim off to the right hand side of the first buoy, taking advantage of the current running to the left. I decided to follow his example but unfortunately I had a shocker of a start and it made little difference. By the time I started stroking, both Mark and Tim were well in front. Shortly afterwards, I misjudged a wave and had my goggles pulled off my face – luckily they stayed on my head. After a few seconds to regroup, I managed to get into a rhythm and pulled alongside Mark, passing him just before the first buoy. I then had a really good run to the centre of the “m” and managed to get in front of Michael Harding (who was in the age group above but same wave). This gave me confidence that the swim wasn’t going as bad as I thought however the leg pull and kick he gave me confirmed that we were not out there for a leisurely swim. I held him off until the last buoy and decided to lift for the run home. Unfortunately I aimed for the wrong point and swam a little off course. Luckily by then I had moved into the lead in my age group and as the photo shows, just managed to get home in front. As the photo shows, Tim put in a big finish and was only 2 seconds behind (yellow caps were my age group so you can see how close the first 4 were). Swim time was 12:46 – 1st in my age group and 5th overall.
All in all was a great weekend results wise and a lot of fun. The training seems to be paying off, particularly over the longer distances.
Was great to see my good mate Dave Anderson in the 2.5km. Dave is in the highly competitive 40-49 age group so ended up 8th with a great time of 39:05. Thanks for the rev up to get the blog updated!