Wow, what a glorious day for a winter swim! Everything that was good about winter swimming came together in one lovely training session….crystal clear water, a great turn-out, sparkling sunshine, and some surfable waves.

I was probably slightly sub-optimal as I had broken my “no drinking the night before training” rule…all for a good cause as a group of my swimming friends are participating in a more land-based event, the Oxfam Trailwalker, and Friday night was their fundraising Trivia night. I was pretty restrained and didn’t go too silly, but I do find that even a couple of glasses of wine come back to haunt me when I hit the water…not really a hangover, just a general feeling of sluggishness.

Anyway, we were doing some long laps from the middle of the beach, to the north end boat ramp, back around coach Zoe (who moved position fairly regularly to give us practice on sighting and adapting to changing conditions), and into the beach up the north end. The faster swimmers were doing a run up to the boardwalk ramp and then another lap directly out and around Zoe and back as an extra leg to keep the group together. This was the 2nd week of longer sessions and the first one where I was able to stick around (after leaving early for Megaswim commitments last week) and I did the full 90 minutes. It’s funny how your body can be so conditioned and I definitely noticed that the last 30 minutes felt like harder work than the first hour. It’s good to stretch yourself like and that and I’ve been wanting to do more endurance stuff (long-term goal…more about that as I start thinking about it in earnest), so the timing of the change is perfect. I also love seeing my body adapt and condition to new challenges, so I’m hoping within a couple of weeks 90 minutes will seem normal and 60 will be too short!

I had my camera with me, but was feeling like I could keep up with the group if I swam hard so didn’t want to stop and take photos. Instead, I stopped briefly the first time I passed Zoe and gave her the camera. This was a stroke of genius, as she was mainly just floating and keeping an eye on the group and had the time and opportunity to take a bunch of really great photos that turned out just lovely with the light and the clarity of the water.

Here’s a great one of me…apologies for the water spot in the top corner…but I wanted to use this one as you can see what a terrible time I was having from the massive smile on my face!

The waves up the north end of the beach were really quite lovely and I managed to catch a couple that made me cheer! Although the waves were definitely a touch easier to catch than last week, I was doing much better at getting onto them…enough so that I’m starting to notice how much of a difference the extra buoyancy of the wetsuit makes!

There was only one real problem with such a glorious day…and that was that it was so gorgeous that the North end of the beach got pretty crowded. There were around 20 of us, another larger group that also trains on Saturday, and a bunch of surfers….all competing for the same waves. Unfortunately one of our swimmers got on the wrong end of another swimmer’s food and copped a kick to the nose. She made a hard-core early exit due to an impressive-looking bloody nose! Luckily nothing to major and she was able to stick around for coffee afterwards. We chose to make a strategic move back nearer the middle of the beach (couldn’t go too far south due to surf lessons….best to avoid those learner surfers!) and finished our set there.

Overall though, another example of why I adore winter swimming and think this is the best sport ever!