The conditions yesterday were perfect, with a blue sky, air temperature of 36 degrees and water temperature a refreshing 21.5 degrees. The atmosphere was amazing at the start and finish line but the bit in between really challenged me.
The day started at 2.55am as Campbell had to get up early to meet our Skipper and Paddler, Damian Cleary (Damo) and Cameron Jarvis (Cam), South of Fremantle to launch the boat.
At 4.15am my Cousin Mon and I set off for Cottesloe Beach, Perth in the dark as we had to be there by 5am for registration. We made it, plastered on the suncream, had a quick chat with my coach Trent Grimsey who settled my nerves and gave the crew a call to make sure they were in position 1km from the start line.
Luckily Cam and I met up without any dramas and the boat soon joined us at the 1km mark.
Unfortunately for me though, the serenity didn’t last long and 1hr in I got hit by a stinger wrapping across my chest and under both armpits. Wow, those buggers hurt! But I kept swimming, and the pain began to ease a little.
About 3 hours in I had hit the halfway point and from here things went a little more downhill. I got hit by another stinger across my face and again under my armpit. From here my lips swelled and I was not very happy. It was at his point that l also began to feel nauseated. I managed to tolerate 2 more feeds before they started to come back up, I apologise to the swimmer who was behind me at this stage, it wasn’t pretty.
I slowly plodded my way up to the finish line (I wanted to avoid a public spew on the finish line!) and finally touched sand.
There is no better feeling than hitting that sand and standing upright after a 20km swim. Pure relief. With my swollen lips and racoon eyes I crossed the finish line in 6hrs 51mins.
Although this swim didn’t go to plan and I didn’t achieve the time I was hoping, under the circumstances I couldn’t have done any better. This was a huge learning curve for me and a fantastic test for my mind and body.
Thank you for all those messages of support before, during and after the race, and to all those who have donated, as we have now raised more than $20,000!! Remember, any donation, no matter how much, makes a difference.
A special thanks must go out to my skipper, Damo and paddler Cam for their support throughout the swim, and making this challenge a reality. I was really lucky to find a couple of 'salt of the earth' blokes to help me out!
WiIl I be having another crack next year? I certainly won’t be ruling it out!!
Want to see more?? Click on the link https://vimeo.com/157085786 to view a short video of the swim.