The first swim of the year at Newport on the northern beaches of Sydney. A chance to get back into the swing of swims after the Christmas break. The squad had not trained at the pool since the week before Christmas, though I had done a few sessions at Clovelly and North Bondi for a change. It was nice to be able to get to those beaches without worrying about the normal traffic issues.
This swim was called the pool to peak swim as you started at the Newport surf club, swim south towards the ocean pool, then turn north to the northern end of the beach and back to the start. There were two swims on offer, but I only entered the longer two km swim. The forecast was for a typical Sydney summer day: sunny with a freshening NE sea-breeze to keep the temperature down. The only problem with that was that the long reach at the back of the course would be straight into the wind and chop. Oh well if it happens it happens, and everyone would face the same conditions.
My wife and I arrived at the beach quite early to grab a good parking spot, and more importantly a shady spot to sit under the Norfolk Pines that line the beach. I had over estimated the travel time and we arrived well before the one km event was to start. However, this gave me plenty of time to register and observe the course. I watched the early race as they entered the water and noted the direction of the sweep behind the waves.
Before long Michael, SHAYNE and Karl from the squad joined us in the shade, and the usual banter between us started. We all complained about over celebrating during the festive season in an effort to lull the others into a false sense of security. Not sure if it worked, but it was fun.
By the time our race was to start the sun was very strong and you could feel it biting the skin even through the layers of sun cream. In addition the sea-breeze was strengthening which would make the course choppy. My wave started and once again I let the heroes swim fast knowing that perhaps I could catch at least some of them towards the finish. When we turned the buoy near the pool to swim north the chop and wind picked up. I told myself I had swum in worse in the Bondi to Bronte swim and adjusted my stroke to compensate. Unfortunately I took it too easy and was enjoying the conditions without pushing myself very hard. It was only coming back through the waves towards the finish that I started to work hard. I knew that Michael would have beaten me, but I had enjoyed the swim.
My finish time of just over thirty-nine minutes was slow for a 2 km swim, and I was placed around halfway in the field of five hundred swimmers. I had enjoyed the swim and knew that I had to work out a way to swim better in choppy conditions.