A great friend of mine, Debbie Solms,  has been training really hard over the last few weeks to complete the “BIG SWIM”.  It’s the biggest Ocean Swim that Sydney has to offer and it is right here on our beautiful Northern Beaches.  The swim is approximately a 2.5km-3.km distance from Palm Beach to Whale Beach!  Debbie is an incredible athletic and a fantastic runner (you can follow her at Beauty of Exercise), but is a little more nervous of Ocean swims (Oh you know – swimming with the sharks and rips etc could be a little daunting for the best of us!).  This is no easy challenge and in true Debbie style she has thrown herself in and is ready to go for it.  Unfortunately, a few days ago Debbie had to pull out of the swim due to personal reasons (but she’ll be back to swim Bondi in Feb).  
The swim is NEXT WEEKEND (27th January) and Debs has offered me her place in the BIG SWIM!!  EEEEKKK!!!

It has been a VERY long time since I did any kind of Ocean swimming (apart from paddling with the kids to cool down on a hot summer’s day) – 17 years to be precise!!  And the only kind of fitness training I have done recently has been on dry land!!!!

It looks really far…………

At first I thought – “NO WAY!!” I’ve done no training, there is no way I’ll make!!  But this teeny little voice in my head keeps saying “Go on – just give it a go!!”

When I was about 8 or 9 years old my brother I trained to swim the “dairymaid 1000”!  It was a challenge to swim 1000m in an outdoor swimming pool (so 40 lengths of a 25m pool) to win a badge and a voucher to get a Dairymaid soft serve ice-cream!  Don’t you just love the lure of an ice-cream!!!!  On the day of the swim my cousin LCJ (who is a year younger than me) arrived to stay with us for the school holidays and she was ABSOLUTELY ADAMANT that she was also going to do the swim (what did I tell you about the lure of an ice-cream).  She did not want to be left out even though she had done no swimming training at all.  My dad told her “not to be so ridiculous” but she went on and on and on and on unti he eventually let her swim it.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  She was so exhausted and yet so determined to finished she was actually swimming upright for the last couple of laps!!!  Everyone was standing on the pool edge cheering and literally willing her to the end.  And she did it!!

“Fish are friends NOT food!  Bruce – are you listening???”
So if she can then I can too!!  Now that I’ve made up my mind to do it – with just one week to prepare, I have started to think about all the things that may be a challenge (while trying not to psyche myself out in the process).
These are my top 5:
Sharks!!  They are the most obvious thing to fear when swimming deep in the Ocean!  Especially when there have been several sightings over the last few weeks.  Statistics say that you have more chance being hit by a car then eaten by a shark – so really…… what am I worried about??  I’m not actually that scared, well not enough to stop me getting into the Ocean, but if I see anything thing big and dark underneath me during the swim, I can’t guarantee I won’t freak out!!
Getting in and getting out!!  Sounds simple enough right??  In order for me to swim from one beach to the other I have to get out over the wave breaks and into the big wide Ocean.  It’s probably not as hard as I’m imaging it to be (especially if you’re a surfer) but I’m still a little nervous.  I’ve been given lots of advice, like diving under the big waves just before they’re about to crash, taking a big deep breath and swimming as fast as I can under each wave.  I’ve also done a little bit of googling too and one trick is to dive under the wave to the bottom and use my hands on the ocean floor to pull myself forward.  I’m not so sure about that one!! I just hope the weather is good and the waves are little baby ones.  Keep your fingers crossed for me please!  My next problem – (after all that swimming) will be getting back in to the shore.  Now I’m no surfer but I think my only way is going to be body surfing the waves.  I am so grateful that there will be lots of people all coming in together as I can assure you my beach entrance is not going to be a graceful one!!!
Rips!!  I can just about recognise a rip in the ocean from standing on the shore, but I have absolutely NO idea how to recognise one once I’m in the ocean!!!!  My trusty friend google says to just let the rip take you ……… but what if it’s in the wrong direction???  With only 1 week to train, I can’t afford to swim for any longer than I have to!!!
Exhaustion!!  This one speaks for itself!  I have only got 1 week to train for the Big Swim, so the chances of me hitting exhaustion are pretty real.  However, I WILL DO IT!!  Even if I end up swimming upright doggy paddle like LCJ all those year ago!!  I have been down to the pool twice since I decided to do the swim and have managed to do half the distance – which is about 25 lengths of a 50m pool.  A couple more of those and fingers crossed I’ll be ok on the day.
Sea Sickness!!  Sea swimming is totally different to pool swimming as you have to contend with the swell.  I can only hope that its a nice calm day otherwise that notion of the going up…..and down…….and up……..and down………and up………….and down with the swell could have my tummy feeling a little queazy!!
Master J showing me how it’s done
Mummie’s first ‘laps’ swim in 17 years!!

So in 6 days time I will literally be throwing myself into the Ocean!  I got some advice from someone I met on twitter and he said “swim slow, swim wide and enjoy the view”.  Great advice and that’s exactly what I will (try) to do.  Otherwise I’ll just do what Dorie says “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming………..!!

Wish me luck!

Debbie was doing this swim as part of the Can Too Team to raise money for Cancer Research.  I’m sure you’ll all agree that it is a truly worthy cause.  If you would like to sponsor her (aka ME) and help the Can Too team reach their target then you can do so by clicking HERE.  If you’d like to know more about the The Big Swim, then you can find all the information HERE.

Mrs d signature4

7 comments on “Am I brave? Crazy? Or just shark bait?”

  1. I don’t wish to place a dampener on your enthusiasm; we’re all for new swimmers having a go and joining he sport. But your post is alarming. Your friend does not appear to have transferred her entry, and you must do that properly before race day. There is a difference between being brave and being foolhardy. Being foolhardy places unnecessary demands on water safety crew, who will have 1,500+ swimmers to supervise. This is not a swim to be done lightly. It’s not called The Big Swim for nothing.

  2. That hank you for your concern os.c. You have some great points and I appreciate your view, however I can assure you that I would never be foolish enough to put myself into a situation like this if I didn’t believe I could do it!

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