Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rum chowder at World Masters bay, but Forries a treat...

Bad news reached us from Chowder Bay, whilst on our way to Forresters Beach for the first ocean swim of the NSW season: the World Masters 3km Open Water had been called off, apparently because the water was too cold. That must have been news to the organisers, who must have been the only people with an interest in the event who didn't know that the water temp in Sydney Harbour at that time of year usually is a little Melbourne-like. We felt sorry for all you lot who paid your $220 mainly to do the open water swim. We know some who did no other event, just entered in the OW swim. Poor bugger me, Tacoma Jim. We gather others were put out like that, too.

But we couldn't be fussed with that. We'd made our call long ago, after the World Masters OW near Melbourne in 2002 that was run in a muddy bath at Hazelwood Pondage. It's a power station cooling pond. Mrs Sparkle became very sick from it. But that's also the problem, perhaps, with running open water swims according to FINA rules, for we were told, as well, that the ruling followed FINA rules. That is the beauty of ocean swimming, of course: that we aren't bound by silly rules like that that take no account of the mood of the peloton or give mugs themselves the opportunity to voice their view of make a choice of their own. Most punters, we'd wager, would have swum anyway, as many did informally. At least give the officials on the ground the latitude to make their own decisions.

Meanwhile, we had a lovely day at Forresters Beach. Conditions were a little blustery, with a swell running and sets making it interesting over the reefs at the right, left and in the middle of the course. The water was clear, though, and filled with those translucent jelly blubbers that make you feel as if you're swimming through blancmange. They don't sting, however. They just make the swim surreal. Water temp was 18-19C, probably closer to 19. Altogether, it really was a lovely and an interesting swim.

There was a big crowd there, too. Probably three times the size of last year. When we arrived, 45 minutes before swim start, the car park was almost full. There was a queue for entries, which we've never seen there before.

The boys (see them above). Indeed, the boys with the buoys. One observation that might be made is that the Forries guys need to get themselves some decent marker booeys for this swim. It heads around the reef, and it's easy to get lost in several breaks and bomboras on the way. We saw only two booeys on the way around, one of them after we'd passed it. Of course, we went back and rounded it properly.Only one was easy to see, and you can see why...
We had five of our booeys in a car boot in the car park. They would have been welcome to them had they asked.

The great thing about this swim is that it's informal, relaxed and friendly. It's easy to be like that with a small swim, of course. And that, too, is another reason why it is so nice.
Forresters is run at this time each year, so keep your eye out for next year's date, and get yourselves up there, or down there, or from wherever. It well be worth it, if not for the sake of this swim, but for the sake of your own piece of mind... as Eric Burdon would have said.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cole Classic earlybird... A joke?

You reported with great diplomacy but $47 for an early bird entry to a swim is a joke.
 For me after last year and the mayhem at the Cole, I can think of better ways to spend the money and the time so I will probably bypass it this year.

Keep up the good work.

 Bob Bowden

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The 10 greatest ocean swimming icons...

Everyone would have a different view on this and much of that would depend on what part of the country you live in and how many swims you’ve done. My list has been compiled from swims I’ve done (5 of the 10) and from what I’ve read about the other swims. I suppose it takes into account a whole lot of factors including the course (very important), how many people do the swim each year, how long it has been going for and its historical significance.

1. Rottnest Channel Swim
2. The Big Swim - Palm to Whale Beach
3. Cole Classic, Manly
4. Pier to Pub, Lorne
5. Bondi to Bronte
6. Dawny Cockatoo Island Classic
7. Busselton Jetty Swim, WA
8. Swim Thru Perth, Barrack St Jetty to Matilda Bay
9. Byron Bay
10. Magnetic Island Townsville

Brett McCarthy

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fat, Forty and faster! It could be you.

WARNING: Unless you are on the whale ship Nisshin Maru at present, some images may be offensive.

Stuck with that same old PB?  
Tried everything to beat it?
Even swimming endless laps with the oh-so-charismatic John Capon?  

Well, my friends, help is at hand. It's ancient, it's salty and it's just a long flight away.

You see, on a recent trip to Israel for a film shoot (insert ad-wanker joke here) I had a day off to go down to the Dead Sea. It's about a 2 hour drive from Tel Aviv and well worth it. Actually visiting Israel in general is well worth it as it is an amazing place, especially if you like girls carrying sub-machine guns. 

Like most of you I guess , going for a 'float' in the Dead Sea was something I really wanted to try while over there.  So I packed my Icebergs budgies ( which are handy in Israel as you really CAN tell what religion you are if you have them on)  and off I went.

Now here's the good part. You really do float WAY on top of the water. It's freaky. Naturally, being so salty there are plenty of signs saying don't put your head underwater etc etc  So when the lifeguard (what, do people float to death?) came over I expected the worse. But no, he was an Aussie and had noticed the Bergs' swimmers. We got talking and he asked me if I wanted to do a timed fifty? Hell, yes.

I got a dive off the rocks and swam to the 50 metre buoy in 27.2 seconds. At least 3 seconds faster than my best. 

No wetsuit, no fast-suit, no drugs, just a PB at 40 y.o in plain old water.

For the technicians out there, I can tell you it was exhausting. You can't get your kick down into the water at all and you waste a lot of energy trying to. Your arms arms, though , can slice through and really pull you along quick, and way above the water. 

So, there you have it. If you are in fading years you can still set a P.B no matter how old you are.
Good Luck.

P.S - By the time you read this Cyril will have booked a ticket.