The 20km mission can be completed solo, in a duo or a team of four, aided by a team paddler and support boat crew to actually direct and get you there, as who knows where you would end up otherwise! “Just aim for that big island” was the helpful wealth of knowledge from my own support crew. Well 1. Derr, and 2. Believe it or not, it’s not actually quite that easy to
see in the swell with your head buried under water! Smart arses! Haha
Anyhow, last year was my first crossing in a duo, and after the long day of dehydration, broken shoulders and a porky pine tongue, I was stupid enough to get excited about it once again and jump at the chance to swim it duo for the second time with another good mate of mine, Alicia Anderson.
With swimming being the weaker of my disciplines in triathlon, I thought once again it to be a great way to add motivation to do
the mundane task of swimming up and down a black line some more, and helpimprove my weakness. Add to that our awesome support crew of Shane and Pirro paddling, and our kiwi skipper Bruce, it was set to be a shaweet day out on the
boat, and a fun times on the island!
Pumped and ready to roll with swimming times chopped down the last few weeks in the lead up I was super psyched to
swim and set a PB time with my partner, weather forecast was improving, and some spunky new team bathers it was
all systems go with Lish as equally as pumped up as myself!
A few hours post this excitement and already in bed asleep ready to wake up at stupid o’clock to get to the beach,
excitement turned to dread, and I could not think of anything worse to be doing that day?....why?....due to the fact I woke
up just before 3 am throwing my guts up and feeling rather average to say the least after unfortunately coming down
with gastro that morning! Spewin! (punn intended)
It’s fair to say I couldn’t really think of anything worse to be doing that day than swimming 20km to Rottnest and being stuck
on a moving boat for 6 hours in the sun, when I just wanted to crawl into foetal position and feel sorry for myself, and vomit
myself to sleep!
Nonetheless, it’s a team effort, and despite the mothers objections to me as I ran out the door pretending to feel better than
I did so I didn’t get the lecture of how stupid I was to be swimming (which I know exactly how horrible the day ahead was
going to be believe me!) Like I said it’s a team effort and you don’t just bail on these things and your mates that easy. It
was into the car and down to the start. Feeling no better and saying hello to breakfast second hand it was the start of 20km
on an empty stomach! Argh!
Leaving an inspiring scene of paddlers, families, mates, swimmers, shapes big and small, some covered head to toe in wool
fat or suncream, with the sun slowly rising, it was a flurry of activity and I was happy to just get the thing started! Water
temp was good and a clean start saw the “Mature Tadpoles” dubbed the “Seedy Tadpoles” out the front end hooked up
with the paddler and finding our boat with no troubles at all. From then on it was a matter of 10 – 12 min stints between
myself and Lish, just chopping down the km’s saying farewell to Perth and hello to Rotto! And with each stroke closer we
got you could almost feel the excitement of our paddling boys!...For us to finish?....No no no no nooooo, to crack open their
first beer! Was the driving force to get us on shore as quick as possible!
Slow and steady wins the race for us! With Lish holding aconstant speed and swimming strong the whole way over, and although I was a bit off my own pace between throwing up and running on empty, we both stayed constant swapping turns and a cheeky grope and high 5 at changeovers, we started reeling in the duos in the wave before us! Yeah! Not only that we
looked as though we might swim about half hour faster than we thought! With the awesome work of Shane and Pirro our paddlers keeping us dead on track in a straight line.. ( which I might add was vital for me and my atrocious ability to swim in
a straight line, “herding” as they called it, Lish on the other hand could understand this concept of straight! Unlike myself haha) and Bruce’s A-class control of the boat direction and changeovers, saw us charge in at 5h23! And second female duo! Not a bad effort all things considered!
Personally for me touching dry ground was such a relief, I was spent through and through, with no food the whole way over, dehydrated as (insert choice word as you wish here) aching, probably being the worst company ever, and still feeling like chucking. To sit, warm up, not move and not talk, was like all my Christmas’s come at once! However elated we smashed it!
Finished! Came second! And having the team psyched for the pub we au revoired our awesome skipper, and trooped off to the more enjoyable and sociable half of the afternoon! Quokka Arms!
Good day all told! Apart from feeling like ass and been an antisocial grinch on the boat, it was an awesome avo! Weather was ace! Good company, good times, good tunes on the boat and of course another successful crossing! Hats off to all those that made the crossing solo! You are mad, but by geez it’s impressive! And commiserations to my best friend Pauly, that came oh
so close to a solo Victory before being pulled form the water with hypothermia.
Until next year!....