It is becoming a bit of a tradition that I injure myself a week before I compete in an event. Last weekend I was kayaking in the ocean and the swell was huge, well it looked enormous to a girl from the bush! I thought I had my timing perfect, there was a break in the waves and I took the opportunity to paddle into the shore as fast as I could. I had made it, my kayak was on the sand! Then before I knew it a wave smashed me, I hit the sand with a thud and the kayak was floating over the top of me.
In no time my foot was swollen and bruised but it was my stomach muscles that hurt the most. All week I was concerned that I would not be able to swim in the Busselton Jetty Swim. Could I compete? Would all that training have been for nothing?
About the Busselton Jetty Swim
Busselton Jetty is the world’s longest wooden jetty located 222km south of Perth, Western Australia. Each year 2000 competitors hit the water and swim 3.6kms around this iconic jetty.
You can swim as a solo or in a relay with teams of two or four. Junior swimmers can also compete in a 222 metre swim around the outside of the Swimming Jetty.
My foot is still swollen and my muscles are tender but I feel so much better than I had all week. Popped a few pain killers, rubbed on some cream to help the inflammation and I was ready to go!
I always get nervous before an event and question why I do this to myself. It was time to embrace the butterflies and I hit the water once the gun was fired. Gave myself a bit of space away from the other competitors so I was not kicked at the start of the race. No one needs a blood nose to attract the sharks!
I feel terrible in the water and it is a struggle to breathe, I have only gone about 100 meters and I want to pull out of the race. I always feel like this at the start and I have to keep going, find my rhythm and get my breathing right.
All of a sudden it all just falls into place and I am gliding through the water. I am swimming reasonably close to the jetty and all the other competitors have picked a different line. The jetty curves and I realise that I am taking the scenic route!
I change my course slightly to move away from the jetty and then I am next to a pack of swimmers. Under the water I am surprised at how shallow it is swimming over lots of sea grass.
The Busselton Jetty is 1841 metres long and as I approach the end of the jetty I start to see marine life. The water is much darker as the depth has changed and there are schools of fish swimming around the pylons.
The ocean is becoming choppy and I swim very close to the jetty as I go around it to make my way back to shore. I am feeling confident as I hit the half way mark.
Helicopters are hovering above the water keeping an eye out for sharks. As I swim I can see life guards positioned along the jetty and on boards in the water. They are keeping a watchful eye on the competitors.
Heading back to the shore the conditions are making it harder to swim. As I turn my head to breathe I get a mouthful of water from the swell. I need to push harder, dig deep to get to calmer waters.
Busselton is notorious for stingers. During the briefing they told us that there hadn’t been many stingers around this year. I wasn’t taking any chances and lathered myself in Safe Sea Sunblock with Jelly Sting Protective Lotion. Half way back to the shore I feel a sting across the back of my neck and it is the only place I didn’t put the lotion.
I feel sick from swallowing too much salt water and my neck is hurting from the stinger. Then a stingray glides underneath me and it gives me a boost to keep swimming.
The shore is getting closer and competitors are funneling into the finish line. Arms and legs are flying everywhere and my water polo skills come in handy. The ocean floor is becoming sandy and finally I can stand and run over the finish line! An awesome feeling to see so many people cheering and congratulating everyone as they come out of the water.
I am happy to have finished the swim since I was injured and while my time was not as fast as I would have liked I can’t complain. It took me an 1 hour, 15 minutes and I am pretty sure I added on an extra few hundred meters as I swam extremely wonky!
What I loved the most about the Busselton Jetty Swim is that it attracts all sorts of people. There are the young, the old, elite athletes and others who are just looking to challenge themselves. A great weekend full of entertainment for the whole family.
I highly recommend being part of the atmosphere, why not sign up for the swim in 2019!