To swim… Noosa Tri Festival Event #1

29 Oct

A few weeks ago it seemed like a great idea to sign Mum and I up for the Noosa 1000m Open Water Swim.  In my head it was a good warm up, a good practice in the ocean ready for Sunday’s triathlon leg, and a good chance for Mum to do something new (she’s a swimmer – but normally only in the pool).  I told Mum it would all be good, and she reminded me that she’d leave me in her wake… after seeing her in the pool I couldn’t help but agree!

We arrived in Noosa, checked into our apartment and walked down to the Race Village to check-in.  A simple check in, and we had our attractive raspberry caps and ankle timing devices. Still protected in the Noosa woods we had no idea what conditions were awaiting us on Noosa Main Beach. Once all the formalities were in place, we meandered down to the beach, only to find the nice serene, calm beach had been replaced by choppy waves… fantastic!! (insert sarcasm here…)

I suggested to Mum that we go out into the water to do a quick warm up. The water temperature was beautiful but we both quickly decided it might not be too pleasant!! We found once out through the breaking waves that swimming horizontal to the beach was a bit better, but getting out to that buoy was going to take a bit of effort.  We both decided to head back in and conserve our energy for the main event.  What was even more upsetting was that the swim was in the shape of a giant M – at the halfway point we were to swim back into the beach and then go back out through the breakers again… delightful!! (insert sarcasm here…)

After watching the first couple of waves set off, our 4.39pm start approached. We were corralled into the starting area, a 10 second count down and a hooter and it was time to head in!  I’d entered us in the family wave so we could start together, and there were all ages competing in this wave. As an infrequent ocean swimmer, the first part out through the breaking waves was tough going, after an eternity, and constantly checking where Mum was, we made it out to the first buoy.  From there swimming across to the second buoy wasn’t too bad (although one of the friendly guys on the paddle board told me I was swimming too wide – I had gone wider to allow the following wave room to pass without swimming over the top of me).  I think this is where I managed to add a bit of distance to my swim (I turned a 1000m swim into a 1200m swim!!).

Coming into shore for the first time was ok (though I hoped the waves coming in would have given me a bit more of an advantage to make up for the disadvantage going out!!).  I could still hear Mum talking behind me every now and then so knew she was still plugging away. I have to admit, as I got up onto the sand I very much didn’t like the idea of heading back out again!!  However, too stubborn not to, I took a pounding back out through the surf for a second time.  At this point however I decided I just had to suck it up, and if I put my head down and just swum then it would be over quicker.  So I did. My back half was a lot more consistent than my front half, and I solidly swum freestyle the whole way, being rocked by the endless waves (which seemed to time themselves quite nicely with every time I wanted to take a full breath…).  As I turned around the final buoy I knew it was close to the finish. I just wanted to put my head down, kick hard and get it done.

I spent the back half, consistently stroking, but wondering what my family would think of me for signing Mum up to this event and then telling her she was doing it, only to have her drown out there… Had I signed a death sentence for Mum? However the other part of my brain knew she wouldn’t drown, but I also knew she wasn’t enjoying it too much (and neither was I!).

As I crawled up to the beach (well it felt like that), I was amazed to see I’d still managed a sub 30 time – the conditions felt awful and I felt like I had been out there forever (still a far cry from the 22ish minutes I would have liked to do it in)!  I waited a couple of minutes to ensure Mum did in fact join me on the beach and there you have it – event number one finished!

I finished in 29:44 (although did swim about an extra 200m than I should have!) and finished 42nd in my wave. It was by far the roughest open water swim I’ve ever done, and while a little disappointing, was also a bit of a confidence booster as I felt if I can survive a swim like that decently, then I’ll be okay anywhere… time will tell on that front, but I’m hoping for much nicer conditions on Sunday!!



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