Opera House 2010

After my succesful traverse of Lake Macquarie, I decided to enter another swim. The location Farm Cove in Sydney Harbour.  The starting point was next to the Opera House, a swim around Farm Cove looking at the Botanic Gardens, and back to the Opera House. Distance two km, harbour swim with no waves. Easy after my recent effort.

Only problem was that a year before the swim a navy diver had lost a hand to a shark at the nearby Garden Island Naval Base. So the organisers had extra precautions for those willing to brave the murky harbour water: their own divers loitering underneath the course to provide protection for the swimmers. But if you are concerned about sharks as a swimmer you really should not get in water. After all you are more likely to be killed by a bee, or involved in a traffic accident on the way to the swim than to have an encounter with a shark.

Getting to this swim was easy for me as I only had to walk from home across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, then down through Circular Quay to the start line at the Opera House. Tough way to start the day.

Another glorious day with plenty of sun. Registered for the swim and sat on a grassy bank in The Botanic Gardens to watch those doing the one km swim. Before long it was time for the start of the two km event, Another water start with a jump off a pontoon, with the official starter a leading light of the Federal Opposition Malcolm Turnbull. The route for the swim was across Farm Cove to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, then turn right to swim around the Cove and back to the start line. I noticed that the wave looked fairly large so I decided to hang back and let others go first.

The hooter sounded and we were off. The usual thrashing of arms and legs as swimmers jockeyed for position. I let this happen in front of me and settled into my stroke pattern while looking ahead to make sure I was on course. As per usual I soon caught up to other swimmers but they had trouble navigating so I had to weave around them. By the time I had got to the first buoy I was in clear water.

After the turn on every breath the view was of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It was hard not to focus on the iconic view. Before long that view was replaced by one of the Sydney skyline. What a place to have a swim race. How many people around the world dream of coming to Sydney to see this view and here I was swimming in a race while enjoying that same view.

I felt quite strong and once I passed the last buoy tried to up the pace and managed to pass a few other swimmers. Another feature of this swim was that you had to climb out of the water using ladders, run over a pontoon and then pass over the timing pad. But everyone had to do it, so it was much the same for all.

I had finished. Good result finishing in the top third of the field, and a top twenty in my age group. I felt very satisfied with all my training and the good results.

So the 2010 season was over for me. I had swum four races for a total distance of just under ten km. Of those four races, only one was in the surf, so I did not feel that I was an oceanswimmer. Time to focus on my training until next season.

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