The Port Elliot Swim

Posted: March 17, 2018 in Swimming
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Such tempting waters

The open water swimming events seem to be coming fast and furious at the moment. This week I was down in Port Elliot for the event there. This one was a little different to the other swims. Firstly, it started in the afternoon and secondly it wasn’t based along the same stretch of coast line that most of the other area.

There was a big throng of people in front of the surf club. All the usual people were there, including Roman my pretend arch rival in swimming. The topic of conversation seemed to centre around the sea conditions and the placement of the buoys, the sea looked deceptively calm and flat but it wasn’t, that much was obvious from the water splashing over the breakwater at the edge of the bay. The buoys were pitching about in the swell and seemed to be further apart that was necessary for the distance. It didn’t matter we would all be swimming the same distance, just not the exact distance advertised.

After the briefing we headed to the water to do the sea entry dance, the movements of which are dictated where on your body the water hits. Eventually the dance and ritual complaining gives way to a dive into the water and a few practice strokes. It wasn’t long before we were lining up between the buoy and the jetty. Instead of hanging to the side I tried starting behind the fast boys. I was hoping that they would disappear in a splash of foam and I would be left to make progress unmolested.

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A buoy on the beach

The first part of the swim was a short dash to the first buoy. The convergence of everyone on the first buoy completely ruined my strategy of starting behind the fast boys. Rounding the buoy was a crowded and confused experience.

Now we were on a long straight down to the second buoy. It seemed like a very long way, the swell made it seem even further. I enjoyed fighting against the wobbly bits but it made sighting interesting. If I timed it wrong all I saw was water. There could have been people within meters of me and I wouldn’t have seen them. Timing it right and I got a panoramic view from the top of a swell.

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The pre swim throng

I rounded the far buoy and looked back down the course to the third and final buoy. It looked even a very long way away. Luckily, the melee had sorted its self out and I was more or less on my own. This is when I start to enjoy the swim. I set off down the course at a nice steady pace happily working my way up the swells and sliding down the side. It was a surprise to see other people as I approached the next buoy.

Rounding the buoy, I started the second lap of this triangular course. This should make it familiar territory but for some reason it felt a lot different. The short leg seemed shorter and the long legs seemed to be much longer. The swell was the only constant.

As the end loomed I noticed that someone was pulling level with me. He looked into my eyes and I looked into his. We both understood, up to here had been the warm up, the race was about to start. We matched each other stroke for stroke to within ten meters of the beach. I was just about to give up and let him go when he cracked and fell behind, two more strokes and that would have been me.

I left the water happy, until I found that Roman had left the water 12 seconds before me. For the first time this season he had finished in front. Grudging praise was due.

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It’s a Jetty not a Yetti

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