2016 Rottnest Channel Training – Part 5
There are now less than two weeks to go until the Rottnest Channel Swim and with a whole month passed since our last blog it’s time for a little catch up.
Pablo was left to continue training with the Orcas and Black Ice swimmers while Friedo enjoyed a week in Robe (South Australia) with his family. Maintaining a regular routine when on holidays is always difficult. As long as the family is happy to go to the beach you can always get a few strokes in, but never to the intensity or duration as you would when training in a squad or with friends. The water in Robe (South Australia) was significantly cooler, too. Swimming without a wetsuit has become our norm so adjusting to the cooler water temperature proved a little difficult, especially as the air temperature was hovering around the low 20°C mark. An estimated water temperature of around 15–17°C may not be that cold for the hardiest of swimmers but when you’ve come from 22°C in Port Phillip Bay you notice the difference.
The Bloody Big Swim
Our next swim after Friedo returned was the Bloody Big Swim, a race from Frankston LSC to Mornington LSC, a total of 11.2km. Conditions were deceivingly calm at the start line but shortly after the start of the swim the wind picked up and caused conditions to deteriorate and become quite choppy. With the wind now coming from the south as well as an incoming tide this swim was going to be longer than the 10km we all swum in December.
The course runs in a straight line along the coast. With the exception of staying to the seaward side of a shallow reef called Pelican Point, swimmers were free to set their own course. Both Pablo and Pat swam quite straight but Friedo, with his tendency to veer right, was taking a wide line that probably didn’t help toward the end of the race when the wind picked up. It became such a problem that his paddler struggled to keep pace for about 15 minutes. Pablo and Friedo remarked after the race that it was around the 8 or 9km mark that they started to tire, but with the finish line in sight in the last kilometre both swimmers got a second wind and pushed through to finish strong.
Pat was the standout swimmer and finished in 3 hours and 6 minutes, enough to claim 8th place overall. Remove the two duo teams that finished before him and he finished 6th. Better yet, Pat placed third in his age group and first in the overall non-wetsuit category for which he received a special award. It was surprising to see that overall placegetters received a substantial cash prize. But with 16 minutes separating the solo winner and Pat’s finishing time you’d have to question the advantage provided to someone wearing a ‘flotation device’, as Chloë McCardel called it in her presentation to Pat. And over such a large distance you could only imagine the advantage to be greater. An even playing field or separate categories would surely be a fairer comparison.
Our category result can be found via this link.
Hitting the Home Stretch
Fast forward a few weeks and school holidays have finished and squad training recommenced. Our coach wasted no time and flogged us hard from day one. The three of us caught up for a ‘logistics’ dinner hosted by Pablo and his wife Mariella last weekend. You could say it marked the first day of carbo-loading with a beautiful meal prepared by Mariella. The Argentinean empeñda’s were delicious, as was the home made silky canelloni. A club Christmas favourite, an Argentinean flan, rounded off the meal. A good thing we weren’t swimming home or we would have sunk.
Apart from feeling tired, with less than two weeks to go we’re also feeling positive, confident and strong. We got a little extra boost with Aspect sending us some training tops as thanks for helping to raise funds for them.
What about you?
Above we talked about the Bloody Big Swim results. Do you think there should be a clear distinction between wetsuit and non-wetsuit results? Tells us about your experiences, leave a comment in the comments section below.
Here’s how you can help…
Would you like to support our Rottnest Channel Training efforts?
We’re raising money for Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect). Aspect provides people with autism the opportunity to realise their unique potential, as well as providing much needed support to their families, carers, friends and colleagues.
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