Monday, February 17, 2014

Swimming in the rain

Not Malabar, no. Byron Bay last week when a mob of punters turned up to swim newd. A bit distracting for the locals, according to our reporter on the ground The Sports Mistress (@Sports_Mistress).
I love this swim for lots of reasons.
  • You've got the choice of a short/long or both. 
  • There's a relaxed atmosphere - pretty much the only people that are there are those there for the swim in some way. 
  • It's in aid of the Rainbow Club - which is all about getting children with disabilities swimming in order to realise their potential (and today into the ocean). 
  • The club turns on a great show - loads of water safety, briefings, fruit, 'tap' water, energy drinks and a running commentary with loudspeakers on the beach and in the park to keep everyone well informed on what's going on! 
  • Added to that is some live entertainment (the songs of which can stick in your mind for the swim), a bbq stall & coffee van, prizes by the bucket load and a great day out.
Today - a bit gloomy and grey. Not raining - at least not at first - but it didn't stop HEAPS of us coming to swim - the only thing missing today was the accompanying families. It was warm & humid at the beginning of the morning but cooler and very wet by the finish. I was glad of the hoodie I had with me, and the umbrella and rain jacket!

Anyway, the swims 

Lynn tells us she's been using her BK Selenes (the world's best all-'round goggle, we reckon),
in her right hand, for 10 years, "longer than I've had him", she said, pointing at her husband.
They've been married eight years. Lynn bought a new pair, in her left hand, at Malabar yesterday.
Obviously, Lynn observes Goggle Respect.
The 1km is a quick out - across - back swim. It's not far off shore - the buoys are big and visible - straight out to the first buoy, turn, swim across to the 2nd buoy, turn and then swim straight back in (note, straight is what you try to do, and sometimes achieve - my route looked a bit wobbly). For the whole time you are still well within the shelter of the bay - so there's life to the water but not so's you struggle to catch a breath or see where you are going.

I always intend to do this as a 'warmup'. Right. I took off in my wave with another swimmer who kept such a steady pace to my right it was lovely to swim with. Occasionally she'd be further over, then we'd be closer together, then I might be in front (not often), then she - right until the very end really. All I tried to do was not stay behind her - I don't find it easy to be behind people - can't 'see' as such. It was a good pace and I totally enjoyed the race! The downside - after I stopped for a breath, had a drink, is I got a little cold. I spent the time between this race and my start in the next wrapped in my towel and dancing around under the umbrella trying to stop shivering and warmup. I did in the end stop. Just before I had to unwrap and head back into the water.

So - that meant I had to get going to get warm. Off we went. It seemed a faster pack of swimmers this time and I was going slower too - yep, run out of puff. It didn't matter one bit - this was the course that changes when you keep going past the first buoy . . . you are heading much further out - all the way to the farthest buoy with the helium balloon on top of it - the great thing was that the red of the balloon stood out really well against the grey seas and skies so it was a nice target.

There's more of a swell out the back - so you are sighting on top of the roll and just swimming through the flat. I seemed to notice the sea life more - more rocks, more fish (and there was some rubbish unfortunately - those plastic bags just float around) and a huge clump of seaweed at one point. I had time also to watch the rocky cliff edges a little more - time to breathe more regularly and then rounded the first buoy+balloon and out a little to the middle buoy and then across to t'other side and second buoy+balloon. This bit was FUN. The ocean was giving you a push on your way over - I always feel it's a bit like catching a wave that doesn't break - but just rolls you along with a little pause between push. Lovely. Rounding the farthest buoy+balloon was a bit odd for me - I got there but was being pushed just a little to the right by both the ocean and another swimmer so I literally brushed past it at the turn. Kind of caught me by surprise - I usually stay wide. I'm putting it down to just having too much fun and not paying enough attention to my course. To the guy on my left I hope I didn't throw you off as well.

Back on course, and heading straight(ish) for the shore - it was a long ways out. You could see the buoys but you really just had to head to the finish (keeping left of any buoys) - so I just sighted off the blue sails over the kiddies playground which were directly above the finish line and kept it simple. That meant I was over to the left of many swimmers - I remember last time there seemed to be a current running against me on the way in but this time we were in the lull around the high tide so it was just a good swim in.

The water was still moving around out the back - but the closer you got to the shore the calmer it became - then you were just gliding through the water.
Look who was in town for weekend swims: Killer brought his unique brand of living, heaving ocean swimming culcha to Sydney where, each year, he does Swim for Saxon at Queenscliff. Killer said to us once, "I didn't get called Killer for bein' nice to people on the footy field". Sydney's gain was Mur'bah's loss for the weekend. Also in town, The Sports Mistress, from Brunswick Heads. We thought for a while, there was some connection between the two visits. But, no, it was just her Big Sleepover at Casa Sparkle.

Exfoliation - Free!

Well, there was one surprise. The pumice stones.

There were patches of them floating on the water and it was an odd feeling to be swimming through rocks. They don't hurt, they aren't heavy or large - it's just really strange to swim through. If I hadn't been looking at them on the beach before the swims I mightn't have know what it was. Sometimes we have that exfoliating swim through seaweed - today our skin was perhaps being smoothed as we swam. Added bonus.

And so the race came to an end - the last few metres swimming over the rocky shallows that last year we had to stumble over as the tide was low. Much easier - swim right up to the sand then engage the legs and run (not fast) to the finish.

This swim was done - but the show wasn't over yet.

For me, there was a quick shower to rinse off and change, and don the warm hoodie I'd brought with me. Then a wander up and over the road to the nearby cafe to get a takeaway bacon & egg roll & a coffee - then back for some chitchat with other swimmers, checking of the results, staying
around for the FOS random draw (ok - at this point I have to say I got lucky so that was very nice - thanks & BudgySmuggler) - and then the presentations and speeches. For the first time there were also prizes to recognise the achievements in both swims of both senior and junior swimmers with a disability. These swimmers swam the race with everyone else in their age groups - there's no quarter given and none taken or expected! It's just all in for a swim.

Now I have been remiss in not mentioning the Rainbow Club more - and those swimmers who outswam many today yet who are challenged day-to-day by their disability. There's the amazing Louise Sauvage - a Paralympian who swims in my age group and is a patron of the club; James Pittar  who swims the so many long swims around Sydney (not to mention the world) and is an ambassador for the club; and young Georgia - the first club member to participate in the 'Magic' and who swam the whole 1km swim course today! This is what the club is all about - and what all today's proceeds and fundraising efforts are for - supporting kids with a disability to learn to swim and through that perhaps help them realise their potential.

Added to that - the swim bears the name of the great Murray Rose. I love these words from the website ...
Murray Rose was a great supporter of the Malabar Magic and one of the original creators of the Magic. It was his vision to have an Ocean Swim to raise funds for Rainbow Club Australia, a charity of which he had been the Patron for many years.

Murray always believed that magic occurred in the water - when he swam for Australia or indeed just swam, when the children of Rainbow Club accept the challenge to fully explore their abilities, and when 1000 swimmers splash into the waves of Malabar Bay to raise funds for these children.

The Rainbow Club Australia was saddened when Murray passed in early 2012. His enthusiasm for all things Rainbow Club and for the Magic will be greatly missed. And it is in his honour that the Board of Rainbow Club Australia agreed to rename the event Murray Rose's Malabar Magic Ocean Swim.
It was a great swim and despite the rain and the grey day the magic was definitely there both in and out of the water.
Jen Gwynne
Results... click here

GoBraveDave was at Phillip Island...

Read his blob... click here

Tell us what you thought of the weekend's swims... 

Swim for Saxon at Queenscliff, Murray Rose Malabar Magic, Phillip Island swims... click the comments link below


  1. Murray Rose Malabar Magic - a very well organised swim. The rain itself didn't dampen the event, but the stormwater run-off sure did - gross! Nothing anyone can do about that though! The two lads on the microphone provided good commentary and a few laughs throughout the morning. The pre-2.4km course directions were confusing at first (5 buoys?! but I can clearly see 7 out there!), but its hard to go wrong on such a simple layout and the buoys were very easy to see while in the water.
    I always love getting fruit after a swim, even if it is 3 days off being ripe. And the sausage sandwiches on offer were some of the best I've ever had.
    Will defo be doing this swim again, if there is no rain leading up to the event.

  2. Really enjoyed the swims. Swam harder than I normally would - the smooth water made it too tempting to keep an eye on fellow competitors from my wave who were swimming at a similar pace. I naturally had to keep up. I was pretty happy with my effort in the 1km, but geez, I didn't enjoy getting mowed down in the last 50-100m of the 2.4km by another guy from my wave. I saw the cap coming up next to me at a great pace and thought it must've been one of the girls from the wave behind hauling me in. When I noticed it was someone from my wave, I tried to go with him but didn't have enough gas and came in 3 sec behind. Maybe I need more brekky next time? Must've been funny to watch that last ditch battle and my stroke which would've been going out the window. Anyway, I have a new nemesis.

    Also, a good lesson to always listen to the briefing. I've become a bit casual, thinking I've done this one before etc and didn't twig there was a buoy at the apex of the course. I had to correct my heading after noticing others swimming a different line after the top northern mark. Could've been my 3 sec... There's always next time.

    Interestingly, it was the first time I've noticed more swimmers in the 1km event than the main 2.4km event.


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