After the glorious sunshine and conditions at Bondi for our Friday night swim, and some positive looking forecasts, I had high hopes for the first Can Too beach session this year.

Unfortunately there’s nothing more uncertain in this world than the weather. We were kind of lucky in a way, in that the waves weren’t as big as they have been the last couple of weeks, and the conditions weren’t actually risky as such. They were just kind of unappealing. It was a bit overcast and it looked like it was threatening to rain all morning, and it was a bit windy. The waves were breaking messily, and a couple of storms during the week had finally made their way through the stormwater system, and there was all sorts of crap in the water (rubbish goes in the bin, people! Don’t kid yourself that it’s not ruining your beaches!).

In short, it was enough to be a bit off-putting, particularly if you happen to be new and/or a little nervous! I can completely relate to this, as 2 years ago, on my first beach session ever, the weather was absolute rubbish and I was scared absolutely…err…let’s say “witless” (to be polite).

Luckily, people are often braver than they think they are and lots and lots of them turned up anyway!

In respect of the conditions, we spent the morning learning how to do ins ‘n outs…consisting of building the following skills:

  • How to run in the shallows (lifting your legs high out of the water)
  • How to dive under waves
  • How to start swimming when you’re deep enough
  • How to porpoise back to shore

This is a pretty big part of what you do as an swimmer…and something that will feel very new if you’ve only been exposed to pool swimming before. It’s also quite a lot to learn on the first day, and I was super-proud of everyone there giving it a go. Plenty of people were clearly outside of their comfort zone but not one of them gave up! It was pretty amazing to watch and a privilege to be able to offer a bit of help, a word of support or an encouraging word here and there.

At the end of the session, we finished on a very supportive and fun high note…as swimmers arrived back on the beach from their last in-n-out they formed a tunnel of high-fives for the later swimmers to run up and get cheered. Lots of fun…and in the end that’s a big part of what this experience should be all about!

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