So the 2012 season is now over. What was my progress over the season? Well to recap in 2011 I had competed in six races with a total distance of 13.4 kms, and I struggled to finish some of those races. For distance covered in Australia I was ranked 1,398 out of 43,462 and in NSW 509th out of 17,154. For the oceanswim handicap series in 2011 I did three swims for 185 points and a ranking of 246 out of 357. For the other handicap series I accumulated just under 400 points ( a maximum of 100 for each swim), placing me 212th out of 1,143 and 28th in my age group.
For the 2012 season I competed in 28 races covering a distance of 52.6 km. For distance covered this placed me 53rd out of 45,395 swimmers, and in NSW I was ranked 28th out of 16,771. For the oceanswims handicap series I once again did three races, earning 191.52 points (out of 300), and placed 89th out of 1,829. For the other handicap system I had been given 1734 points from 24 races and my best three average of 94.59 (out of 100) placed me 25th overall out of 467, and 5th in my age group. This one did not credit three of my Sydney swims which would have given me another 200 odd points.
So these raw figures show the improvement in distance.
The other side if my placings. In 2011 my average overall placing was 53%, with a best overall placing of 143rd. For my age group I averaged in the top 52% and a best placing of 18th. For 2012 I averaged in the top 39%overall with a best overall placing of 42nd (thankyou New York). I had six races in which I finished in the top 100 overall. For my age group I averaged in the top 44% with a best placing of sixth (Coogee). I had seven races in the top 10 in my age group.
So these show that not only had I swum further, I had also swum faster when compared to other competitors.
The other way to see my improvement was that on nine occasions I swam in both the one km and the longer races. It is true my results in the one km races tended to be better, but I still improved in the longer races. An example of this was the Coles Classic where my time improved by six minutes and my overall placing was 700 places higher.
My favourite swim of the season was the Brooklyn Bridge swim in New York City. Why well it was my first top 50 finish, and first top ten overall. But it was more than that, It was realising that I could now compete overseas and had the ability to do so. And the location was stunning,.
My least favourite swim was probably the Bondi to Bronte, but that was because of the bad conditions. Though it did show me that I had the stamina to swim for over an hour in difficult conditions.
Another sign of progress for the season was my efforts in th pool with the squad. When I started I was in slow lane in lane eight. I quickly moved up to lane seven where I admired those fast swimmers at the head of the lane. Well during the season I improved to where I was one of the leaders of the lane, and so much so that I was moved up to the fast lane six towards the end of the season. Sure I am at the back of that lane and sometimes I cannot make the time repeat. But my swimming has got faster, and my style and strength has improved as well.
I have also made lots of friends this year through swimming, especially those from squad who get up early to get to the pool for a six am session several times a week. But I also made friends from the wider swimming community, and I am hoping to continue that.
So for the 2012 season I had done the big journey swims for the first time: Bondi to Bronte, the Big Swim at Palm Beach, and the Coogee to Bondi. I had swum at Bondi several times and I have to admit that when you are in the water on a warm sunny day with clear water it is quite special. I had swum around Wedding Cake Island off Coogee twice. I had swum at the Opera House in three races, and also around Cockatoo Island. I had also swum across Lake Macquarie again, and at Caves Beach. And who could forget Manly, swimming through an aquatic reserve with all its sea life.
For the 2013 season what are my goals? Well first off I am going back to New York to compete in three races over their summer. When I return I hope to be able to get back into training with a goal of improving my efforts in the longer swims. To do that I will have to shed some weight, and also swim harder in the races to push myself. I will have to make a decision on whether to swim the one km races as a true warm up as well.
I also have a dream of doing one of the longer races such as the Bondi to Watsons Bay or the Dee Why to Manly. If not next year, maybe soon after. And who knows what international swims I could do.
But the most important thing is to continue to enjoy swimming in open water in glorious locations.