Well the bad news is that the Rottnest Channel Swim is sadly over for another year, but the good news is a) we had some stellar results from our 86 competing swimmers and b) it's only 5 months until we start cranking it all up again!! So it's not all bad!
It looked like it was going to be a day for records and the buzz before the race was all about if the long-standing solo record of 4h00'15" would go after 7 years. Sadly this was not to be, despite looking that way even up to the halfway mark in the race. Strong currents in the final 3km and surprisingly choppy conditions through the Gage Roads threw everyone's fast times well out of the window. The usual plan is to head south in the event of a late sea-breeze kicking in, however this proved disastrous for those who tried this to the extreme, leaving a very hard slog against the current once you reached Philip Rock. Still, whilst the average solo / duo / team unit appeared to be roughly 30 to 45 minutes slower than either last year or they had anticipated, it was a great day and best of all, no-one got attacked by a shark!
We had 12 solo swimmers from the squad plus another 8 whom I have been coaching with 121 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction complete the swim; 8 duo swimmers from the squad and another 6 from 121s who completed the course; and finally 31 team swimmers from the squad plus another 21 whom I have been coaching on a 121 basis. All up, thats 86 people who deserve a thorough round of applause and congratulations for getting through the swim - now the world's biggest open water channel swim in its 19th year!
If you have been considering a solo attempt over to Rottnest, I strongly encourage you to speak with those within the squad who attempted it for their first time this year. They will tell you that the training hurts; the stingers suck; the coach smells and is often grumpy in the morning; and that the last 3km seem like they're going to take forever - but most importantly they will tell you about the great sense of accomplishment you will feel once you (finally) reach the island and that this is what makes it all worthwhile. So without further ado, congratulations to the following solo swimmers - you did great!
- 6th male & 9th overall in 5h24: Paul Newsome
- 8th male & 12th overall in 5h36: John Edwards
- 5th female & 13th overall in 5h38: Ceinwen Williams
- 31st male & 46th overall in 6h40: Laurent Velay
- 37th male & 53rd overall in 6h49: Andrew Hunt
- 50th male & 73rd overall in 7h22: Wayne Morris
- 53rd male & 80th overall in 7h34: James Andreson
- 66th male & 96th overall in 8h17: Justin Mann
- 33rd female & 103rd overall in 8h24: Emmy Poulson*
- 86th male & 125th overall in 9h15: Paul Downie
- 89th male & 128th overall in 9h30: Sylvain Guillaume
- 40th female & 129th overall in 9h40: Kathy Phillips
* Special mention ought to go to Emmy Poulson for her sterling effort on Saturday. In 2006 Emmy was one of the last swimmers across the line in 11 hours and 30 minutes and narrowly avoided the closing cut-off. This year, without a question of a doubt, Emmy has been the most diligent and consistent athlete with her training and preparation for this event not having missed one training session in the last 7 months! Despite vomiting from sea sickness and not being able to take on any nutrition at all in the last 4 hours (!) she was rewarded on Saturday with a personal best time of over 3 hours and finished well within the main field too!!! Amazing stuff.
A 'note' on James Anderson's arm read "J.K.S" (Just Keep Swimming) and this I think sums-up the necessary mental attitude that everyone needed for this event - when the chips are down, you've just got to "J.K.S"!!!
Full results of the event can now be seen at http://www.watoday.com.au/static/rottnest/
We'll be having a post-race celebration at our place (22 Fairfield Street, Mount Hawthorn, WA 6016) on Friday 27th February 2009 at 6.30pm. Please make sure you pop by and say hi and share a few beers and stories with us!
I'll see you all down at the pool this week (oh yes, the fun doesn't stop here - we'll still be getting all "fresh & fruity" don't you worry!). I'll be the guy proudly displaying his Rotto Solo number plate on the back of his Vespa (if it fits!!).
Cheers and well done to everyone involved and all your support crews, without them none of this is possible! Remember that.
P.S Here's some photos to enjoy too - courtesy of our roving reporters Adam and Michelle! If you have any race stories and photos you'd like to share with the TEAM CORE, please forward them to me - I think we'll create a little space devoted to this on the website for people to peruse.