The 2011 season was over (note the season runs from 1 June till 30 May). In that period I had swum in six swims for a total distance of 13.4 km. Each event was at least two km, and I never did two races on the one day. The boffins at oceanswims.com do a tally of everyone in Australia who enters these swims. For that season there were 43,461 swimmers who competed in a race. I was ranked 1,398 by distance covered. (For NSW I was ranked 509th out of 17,154). When I looked at the tallies I was amazed that anyone could swim more than fifty km in the season.
There are a couple of handicap systems used. The one operated by oceanswims uses a formula which adjusts for the age of the swimmer. It is run on seven or so swims a season with a prize offered to the top ranked swimmer who swims at least three of those designated events. The prize is a trip to Turkey, or the South Pacific to swim in an event. For that competition I had swum three races and ended up with around 185 points (max 300) and a ranking of 246 out of 357.
The other handicap system compares your time with that of the fastest swimmer as a ratio of the slowest swimmer to the fastest. For the season I accumulated just under 400 points with the average of my best three swims of 76 (out of 100). This placed me 212nd out of 1,143 overall, and 28th in my age group.
So all these stats are ok, and they are something to build on for future seasons.
I had made a big change to my training regime and joined a squad towards the end of the season. I knew that this was a long-term commitment and did not expect to see results overnight. However, my efforts for the last two swims of the season showed me that I was on the right track with an improved performance in each swim. I was getting fitter and stronger in the water, so I would expect to see more improvement over a longer period of time. I had learnt to navigate better in the water, gained slightly more confidence in the surf, and made some friends. My favourite swim for the season was the Cockatoo Island swim, with the Bondi swim a close second.
My plans for the next season included a swim in New York City in July, and goals to improve in the Coles Classic and even do some of the famous journey swims around Sydney.
Who knows what the report at the end of the 2012 season will look like?