Things were a bit different than usual for training this Saturday. Firstly, I was without my usual Saturday Swimming carpool buddies. Fiona was away, in her hometown spending some time with the family, and Ronene was heading straight out as one of the first shift of swimmers for the MS Megaswim team (post to follow) and could manage both.

For me it was going to be a bit of a push for time as well, so I had dispatched my trusty other half J with the car and all the equipment needed to the Megaswim, and I raced off to training on my motorbike, to complete an hour and then head straight across town to that event. Slightly crazy, I know, and probably a little unnecessary to do an extra training session before a 24 hour swim event, but I do particularly love a Saturday morning ocean session…good for the soul!

Going on the bike and knowing I would be a bit short of time, I had decided to do the session sans-wetsuit (or “newd”, as we refer to it). The water was still pretty warm – around 18 degrees (celsius), but there was a pretty decent chill to the air that meant it was colder out of the water than in (common at this time of the year).

We headed out to do our warm-up and water acclimatisation after the briefing where coach Zoe had told us we would be doing a longer swim today. But ocean swim truing is nothing of not flexible depending on conditions, and after finishing the warm-up we were advised that as the waves were pumping we’d be doing some body-surfing practice instead. Yay! My favourite!

We spent an hour doing ins-n-outs. It’s a pretty good cardio workout and takes a specific set of skills to swim hard and get out under the waves when they have a bit of power behind them. It’s so totally worth it though, when you catch a decent wave, pull your head beach and surf down the front of it! Then lower your head and streamline as it breaks and ride the rolling shore-break all the way in…hopefully to the point that you graze your forehead on the sand as you arrive!

As a bunch of the swimmers in this squad are reasonably new and a touch nervous in the bigger waves, the coach divided us into two groups. This is my second winter swimming and I like to think of the bigger swell as kind of my ideal conditions as I’m slower, but strong and with a shorter stroke that cuts down into the waves (people with a longer stroke that gives them an advantage in the pool or flat conditions can end up putting their had straight through the tops of waves and find themselves trying to grab the air on the other side), so I decided to join the more seasoned group and head out on our own in search of big waves!

After an hour of this, there was a bit more going on…a new format for the Saturday sessions has a second shorter group starting at 10:15 (for those who are also doing running programs or other crazy stuff) so the 9:30 session now goes for 1.5 hours until 11. I, however, needed to finish early and head straight over to home bush for chapter 2 of my swimming adventures for the day.

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