26 Jun

Open Water Swim and a missed shark attack….I think.

Every place has some culture-specific toughness…

In Minnesota, cyclists were their entire closet plus a snowboard mask to ride their fat bikes around the frozen lakes in -20 degrees.

In Europe, you casually ride few mountain passes in a day and just like that, you got 7000m of elevation in your pedals.

Col De Turini, France

Last Sunday, I found it in Melbourne. I knew that the Aussie are quite water-affine but wanting to swim in 10.5 degree water temperature in the ocean in the dark???? Isnt that a bit over the top?

Who worries about the sharks, deadly jellyfishes and all the other sudden-death-inducing monsters in the deep dark? Do I have to worry for everyone?

In any case, I had to sign up for this madness.

Three friends joined this event and the debate became not so much whether we are doing this 1km in freezing cold water. Nope. The 100% toughness score would be only awarded to the real-deal swimmers – the ones without wetsuit.

I was out. I joined the sissy category.

Please dont get fooled by the relaxed posture of these men and women. It was COLD! I had happily worn everything from picture above.

 So, the event started. Swimmers headed out to the first cone. I was still trying to assess chances getting bit, eaten, devoured by anything around me. I decided the meat around me would keep me safe for a while.

But another problem emerged. Although I have an entire two months of 25m-calm-heated-pool training in me, I could not really apply all learned to this choppy, dark, salty water without any tile-like bearing points five meters under me. It made me uneasy.

After a this-is-real-shit adjustment phase and a few comforting breast strokes, I decided to give this whole freestyle stroke a go.

Head in the water. After about 2 seconds and a heavy load of hyperventilated salt intake I decided breast stroke would do the trick.

On the way back to the awaiting crowd of worriers.

Apparently, breast stroke was seen as an emergency way of moving forward because in no-time I had a rescue kayaker on my side. And no one in sight! The sharks wouldnt eat that quickly, would they?

I dabbled with my grandmother breaststroke along the ocean. Where had I to go? The kayaker told me to target the blinking lights in the distance. But he didnt tell me which of the thousand ones he meant. Thanks to my fogged up goggles the number of blinking lights was limited.

The time passed. I think.
And eventually I felt the ground under my feet.

Fazit: Great event. A lot of stuff blinks from the ocean. Sharks do not like me. Wetsuit was a damn good idea!

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