Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Island Charity Swim: Around Old Woman Island. 11km.

A medical certificate, $1200 of fundraising for the local special needs schools, a paddler, a support boat and a willingness to fly North for the weekend are all that is required to complete my longest ever swim: The Island Charity Swim.

Funds from my super lovely donors bought a new wheelchair bus for Currimindi and exercise equipment for Nambour. THANK YOU!!!

Swimming is thought of as a solo sport. Bollocks. Complete and utter bollocks. If it's over 5km in length there is generally a support boat and paddler involved for each swimmer. Given how slowly I swim that is a 4-5 hour undertaking. Of sitting on the water, watching me turn my arms over and barely moving (particularly for that motorised boat). Not to mention the coaches, fellow swimmers, supporters and donors who get you to the start line. Especially in this case, my lovely coach Jai who arranged accomodation and my support vessel from the wonderful Alex Headland Surf Club.
Pia. Best paddler in the business.
The IRB guys from Alex Headland. Legends.

It also involves an awful lot of kit. This is just my swim gear. Including hypothermia kit. Even for a warm water swim. The water is always colder so you are always losing heat.

This was the best organised swim I have ever encountered. The start was handicapped so slowpoke old me got to go off second. Which meant I had people to swim with until past halfway. So awesome not instantly dropping off the back of the pack.  When I arrived at the end, they sat me down and a doctor checked me out for any adverse signs. Not to mention the medical certificate to participate in the first place. It was also the best catered swim I have ever attended. The FOOD afterwards. Bloody hell, the school community had pulled out all the stops. Three types of soup, hot sandwiches and the best cake stall you've ever seen. But free for swimmers, support crew, family and friends.

Rounding Old Woman Island.
Looking back at Old Woman Island from the Finish Line.

Start line selfie. This smile never diminished.

Thumbs Up.

So touched that some of the Special Needs students we were fundraising for came out to cheer us home. What little heroes!
More thumbs up at the finish line.

and even more thumbs up.

The swim itself, was wonderful. Slow and steady.  Got thrown off course a little by the river mouth, but otherwise it all went to plan. Woot. Beautifully warm water (the locals were whining at 21 degrees. Us Sydneysiders were delighted. It involved a stupid number of thumbs up. See photos above.

After 6 months of post difficult concussion sobriety, I rounded down the last 3 days and had my first beer. Winning. And a huge part of the charm of the sunshine coast were some fellow BSBLSCers who now call the Sunshine Coast. Thanks for some epic hospitality. 

Weekend crew of awesome / BSBLSC

Gosh darn gorgeous!
Nice spot for a recovery swim.

Recovery Swim. Zero pain. Much smiling.
So many dolphins!