My training partner and I made our way to Busselton yesterday afternoon, and enjoyed a leisurely 3 hour drive down. Busselton to me is a home away from home, and could see myself happily retired down there writing novels and stories for the rest of my life (maybe one day). We did our registration, walked the jetty (1.8km one way), dropped our gear where we were staying (a great friend of mines house), then headed out for a quiet dinner before a good nights rest.
This year I submitted my entry and estimated again 1 hour 30 minutes as I had not done as much swim training as the previous time, plus I had pretty much lost my swimming mojo after attempting the Cottesloe to Rottnest Island (19.7km) last year in February.
We woke at 6am to get organised and head down to the water front to have our race numbers put on, head over to a space along the pathway to drop our bag and put our sun-cream on (even being over cast we would still get sunburnt). Relaxed for a little while before heading to the starting area for a briefing and then the start line itself. The breeze was up and not to bad by 8am, but very quickly as we stood at the starting area and waiting for our wave to head into the water, we could see the wind was picking up a bit faster than we liked.
It was our turn to put our goggles on, and feet into the water…yes it was blinking cold, colder than I thought it was going to be. Now what went through my head was, I don’t want to get hyperthermia. Now above I had said I attempted Cottesloe to Rottnest Island swim (19.7km), I ended up being sick on the swim from the 9km mark and by 15.5km I had hyperthermia symptoms, and made the hard decision to pull myself out, and I new that this could be a possibility again today. The gun went off and we were out in the cold water, by the 300m mark I realised the water temp was good and my body was dealing with it well. I pushed on, then the winds came up even more, and the waves were getting bigger and coming in on us from the South which would and could push us into the jetty if we weren’t vigilant enough to stay focused on our positioning in the water and making sure we sighted well.
I saw the 1km mark sign on the jetty, feeling good, but knowing the waves were getting bigger still and that it was getting tougher out in the water, I was not going to give in knowing I had another 800m till the turning point around the top of the jetty, and then the home straight on the other side. Seeing the 1.4km sign on the jetty and I could see the end in sight though it was taking longer than I thought it would. There were patches where I felt strong and push and others where the waves were big pushed me around like a rag-doll. Pushing on and staying strong in mind, I hit the tip of the jetty and made the turn to the left and let the waves carry me forward more than my arms.
The home straight, another 1.8km of pushing through rough seas and waves that would crash on you and fill your mouth with salty water if you didn’t manage to get a good breath in, and there were quite a few of those on the way to the finish line. Being thrown around more and more, with other swimmers around and coming through you would get a tap on the feet, leg, and all the up to your head at times. Its all part of the sport, and you do get used to it after a while. We were getting pushed south even more on the way to the finish and when you know you are swimming on a decent angle its going to take a fair bit of energy and stamina to keep from heading too far south of the finish line. I monitored my body temperature and was feeling good and stable. No feeling of sea sickness even with the large amounts of sea water being taken in. We were getting closer and closer to the finish, and I wanted the finish line to come to me so much faster. I looked up and could see people standing in the water the finish line…woohooo…yay I made it, now to just stand up and get out of the water without falling over.
My feet touch the sand, my googles were off and so was my cap… I was done, I had finished oh and I turned my watch off as well. Known as a tough day at the office, I was happy with my official time of 1 hour 33 minutes and 28 seconds. It was the roughest weather conditions in the 22 years the event has been running.
So until 2018 Busselton Jetty Swim, I thank all the volunteers for the event as with out them it wouldn’t happen.
Till next time…its time for me to go and rest a weary body.