Now that I had joined a squad, I quickly increased my training distances. I was now doing around thirty km in the pool per month which was about double what I had been doing previously. In addition to the increased distance, I was also getting fitter with faster laps and repetitions with the squad. I was also enjoying pushing myself in the pool and trying to understand the instructions from the coach.
I had swum the Sydney Harbour Classic in March 2010, so I was keen to do it again to see how I had improved. The distance of two km was quite manageable and the location in Farm Cove near the Opera House was superb. And the only waves and chop on the swim would come from the ferries going to and from Manly further out in the harbour.
Another advantage of doing this swim was that it was a fund-raiser for the Black Dog Institute.
I arrived at the course on another sunny morning and eagerly waited for the start of my event. I was feeling confident of beating my time from last year, but I knew that this was subject to many variables such as tides, wind and different buoy placement.
Once again the wave started and I took note of my coach’s instructions to let the other swimmers go out hard on the basis that I would catch them towards the end. You cannot win the race by the first buoy but you can lose it was one of his sayings. So I let the others start hard and fairly soon I was swimming in clear water. I soon caught up to some other swimmers and enjoyed swimming in their wake, until I noticed they were not heading for the first can. Reluctantly I decided to veer away from them and aim for the can, and sure enough I managed to beat them to it.
Once again the glorious views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and the city skyline made it hard to concentrate on the swim. Soon enough I was tuning the last buoy for home and tried to up the pace. But I soon realised that my training had not been for long enough and I could not keep up the pace for long. I climbed out at the end feeling much better than my previous few swims which was a good sign.
My time of just under twenty-eight minutes was ninety seconds quicker than the previous year. I was very happy with that until I realised that my overall placing had dropped from the top one-third of the field to the top forty-five per cent. Umm that was disappointing.
Oh well I would have to do more swim training now in an attempt to improve further.