Saturday morning was cold……….official temperature in Darwin was a cool minimum of 14.9C, and a dry cool wind.
But the day warmed up to around 30C by early afternoon.
It was very cool waiting in waist deep water in front of Pee Wee’s Restaurant at East Point for the start of the Fannie Bay to Trailer Boat Club Swim [commonly known as the Fannie Bay Swim Classic] and even cooler once we got under way with the usual argy-bargy at the start.
There was a strong on shore sea breeze which made it rough and choppy and very difficult for those breathing to the right – directly into the sea water chop! Everyone made a mad scramble to swim for the first buoy with a fair amount of kicking legs and shoving of arms, then settling down to try to manage a good steady pace and concentrate on technique. The chop interfered with that and most swimmers when discussing it afterwards seemed content with ploughing on and just trying to keep a good pace.
The buoys are quite large but with a strong NW breeze and an incoming tide there is a tendency to swing left so one needs a regular correction to stay on line.
The winner overall was a young woman – Rachel Maclean in a time of just under 29 minutes, a good minute in front of the first male. She has good form – is from Darwin, and a member of the training team for the Australian open water contingent for the next Olympics, so the win was not unexpected. Kyle Gear was second and the first male to finish.
Yes, I finished, and quite a good time for the conditions – 48.11 minutes, which is nearly 6 minutes better than last year, with many swimmers finishing behind me. Not quite as sharp as I was aiming for but I had a few “off course” issues which cost a bit of time. But being much quicker than last year, in quite tough conditions was really great. And I managed to win my age group too, although again, not quite as quick as the female age group winner - Gerda Williams – but I reckon that as she holds a few world swim distance and backstroke records for her Masters Swim Age Group, I should be reasonably content.
It was a great event, a good afternoon.
There was a good turnout of swimmers ranging in ages from the sub 20 year olds and an especially large group in the 30s and 40s, through to the 60s.
Distance swimming, or bike riding, or running does require a commitment to doing some serious training. It does not happen, at least with any vigour or speed, without that commitment. And it is great to see so many enjoying themselves on a very pleasant dry season afternoon.
I also must acknowledge my strapper for carting me and the gear around……….thanks Roni!