Morning peloton launches from Mana Island's North Beach, training for the Mana Fiji SwimFest.
- Sat, March 4 - Nagambie (NSW), Bunbury (WA), Christchurch (NZ)
- Sun, March 5 - Freshwater e (NSW)
- Mon, March 6 - Fremantle (WA)
Been there, swum that
The new rage for adventure swimming holidays
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take part in the Mana Fiji SwimFest, held annually in October? Or what it's like coming on an oceanswimsafari? We get a lot of enquiries from punters, many of whom come with us to Fiji, but many others who don't manage to make it. Now you can find out what it's like from a punter who was there. See the report by Pip Coates -- that's Pip, at right, a very handy swimmer herself -- in the latest issue of The Australian Financial Review's Sophisticated Traveller magazine...
Day one in paradise: it's barely 7.30am and I'm up with the red-vented bulbuls and white-collared kingfishers, which are in full song outside my bure. There's no going back to sleep – nor do I want to.
Dressed in swimmers, I gather my goggles and cap and step out onto the sandy path that winds between hibiscus, frangipani and palm trees towards the resort.
The infinity pool is sparkling in the morning light as staff plump the lounges. That will entice me later, but not now. I'm at Mana Island Resort & Spa in the heart of Fiji's Mamanuca group of islands, to swim – a lot. And, as it happens, my idea of an active stress-busting holiday (instead of flop and drop) is not so strange after all. Almost 30 of us have signed up for this six-day swimming safari of daily distances ranging from one to 10 kilometres.
And check out our range of exciting oceanswimsafaris to exotic locations below... Click here
We are all average swimmers
...most of us are, anyway
Most of us are mug hackers when it comes to swimming: we thrash away, dropping shoulders, over-rotating, lifting our head to breathe, crossing leading arms, criss-crossing feet, pulling our hands out early. We look on with envy when we spot at the pool or the beach one of those characters who obviously was taught proper as a kid: their technique is so elegant, efficient; and they keep it all their lives, no matter their body shape as they age. It's all so easy for them.
Wish we could swim like that.
Now, riding out of the dawn to the rescue, on his white steed... no, that's his hair these days... comes John Konrads, one of Strãa's genuine swimming legends, of the milieu of some of the greatest swimmers this nation has produced: Murray Rose, John Devitt, Our Dawny... In his free hand, John is waving a parchment, "Stop!... Before you dive in... !!"
John's parchment contains some sage advice for all of us average mug swimmers...
John Konrads' tips for the average ocean swimmer
Ocean swimming is distance swimming which used to be my specialty when I was a little bit younger (read 1956 to 1960!). Many principles of still water swimming apply.
The numbers in brackets (below) indicate one of the 7 Basic Principles of freestyle efficiency for the average swimmer:
- Sink down, let the water do the work of holding you up.
- Rotate your body for a more powerful stroke.
- Relax the kick, it's not worth the effort.
- "Catch-up", delay the pull.
- Roll to breathe don't lift to breathe
- Have your hand lower than your elbow in the air.
- Nothing changes to swim fast, except you pull harder but not sooner.
For the average swimmer? Well, that's how Mack Horton, Grant Hackett, the Campbell sisters and champions swim!
The bottom line is to apply energy only where it's needed and not waste it. The only difference between us and the swim legends is youth, fitness and talent.
So here goes -
- The warm-up. Swim at least 300m. and get a bit puffed out, about a half hour before the event. If you don't you'll feel a "second wind" sometime after the start. Well, that was your warm up and now you will swim faster.
- Unless you are very fit don't sprint into the water at the start. So what if they're 30m. ahead, that's 2% of 1500m. and you'll pass them. Heard the story of the old bull and the young bull contemplating a pasture of cows?
- Swim at flotation depth [Principles 1 and 4]. The rubber ducky has a bigger motor than you. Pierce through the chop , don't try to get over it.
- Swim at even pace, that's the most efficient. When training in a pool, do sets of say, 50m. with 10 seconds rest, all at the same speed.
- To swim straight, don't lift your head [1 and 4]. Simply follow the horde who are lifting their heads. You'll pass them when they're buggered.
- Yes, sprint to the finish line passing the swimmers who sprinted in.
To all of us mug swimmers, John has a special offer: "Order my Swim Easy training video directly by email with your address, for only $35 (RRP $60, online $48). I will advise payment details by cheque or bank transfer."
Click the link above to email John Konrads, or... Click here
A mug and a laydee perform their morning swim.
Learn how to predict the surf
Would you like to be better at anticipating what the surf may be like at next week's swim? One of the great traditions of ocean swimming is leaving your entry to a swim as late as possible so that you get a better idea of what surf conditions are likely to be on swim day. Now, we've teamed up with Coastalwatch to bring you the opportunity to learn how to better forecast surf conditions. It won't give you perfect vision forwards, but it should make you better equipped to make that often difficult judgment.
Coastalwatch offers a range of online tools to help you forecast surf conditions in your area. Over the next two months, they're running a series of workshops on using these tools in Sydney (Queenscliff, February 25), on the Gold Coast (Rainbow Bay-Snapper Rocks, March 15) and on the Victorian Surf Coast (Torquay, April 15). The workshops follow the surfing pro tour. They are run by Coastalwatch's lead forecaster, Ben Macartney (whose dad is a regular on the ocean swimming circuit), and surfer and writer Nick Carroll, former editor of Surfing and Tracks magazines (the latter one of our bibles as adolescents -- we had several, the others being Surfing World and Surfabout), whose own dad briefly was our boss, sort of, when we were a younger hack.
We're giving away a double pass to the workshop of your choice. This means the competition is opened up to ocean swimming mugs in NSW, Queensland, and Victoria. All we ask you to do is to tell us, ideally in 25 words or fewer, why you like to ocean swim. A lyrical approach will earn you greater points. We did already draw a winner of this competition, but they couldn't make the workshop in Sydney last weekend. So we'll keep it going till we get one. So get your entries in. We'll publish the best of the entries.
See the link here to find out more about the surf forecasting workshops, or click the Coastalwatch logo above...
To enter... Click here
Off he goes.
Last weekend's postponements
Two swims in Sydney last weekend were postponed: North Curl Curl now has been rescheduled to Saturday, April 22... Click here... and Bondi also will be rescheduled, perhaps to the same weekend. Their new date has not been confirmed yet.
North Curl Curl has re-opened for online entry and existing entries will carry over to the new date.
We expect Bondi's arrangements to be similar. Their online entries will re-open when their new date is finalised.
The Riverina Rush at Narrandera, scheduled for Sat'dee week, March 11, has been cancelled due to weed infestation in Lake Talbot... Click here
Pittwater winner drawn
Pittwater Swim Series awgies have drawn the winner of their prize to swim to Byron Bay in May. The winner is Jason Tan. Jason wins two return air tickets to Byron Bay, three nights accommodation at Bay Royal Apartments, and entry to the Byron Bay Classic on the first Sunday in May. To qualify for the draw, Jason swam at Avalon, Mona Vale and in The Big Swim.
We're taking entries for just one swim this weekend, the Barney Mullins Classic at Freshwater on Sydney's northern beaches.
This swim honours a legend of Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club, Barney Mullins, who was the mentor of some of the most prominent swimmers on the ocean swimming circuit, indeed of swimming in Strãa generally. It was run for years as a private event within the surf club, but was opened up to the public a few years back.
Freshwater itself is one of the country's icon beaches, for it was here that Duke Kahanamoku demonstrated the new sport of surf board riding during a visit from Hawai'i around 100 years ago. The Duke's board still hangs in the Freshwater clubhouse.
It's one of the shorter swims on the circuit, at 1.5km. The tide will be near its nadir at swim start on Sundee, so there will be a bit of a jog into the runout near the pool to get out into the sea. But the runout will get you out there quick anf smart. It's a noice swim.
Online entries close at 3pm on Saturday, March 4.
To enter online and for more info... Click here
ReCap will be at Freshwater on Sundee, which also is Clean Up Australia Day, so all the more reason to donate your used and/or otherwise unwanted swimcaps to better causes. Bring them along to the Barney Mullins Classic at Freshie and tumble them into the ReCap bin near the finish line. For more info... Click here
Manta rays... We're heading to Fiji's Yasawas in June to swim with them. Come with us... Click here
Our three oceanswimsafaris to Tonga to swim with whales in 2017 have long been filled, but you still can come with us to Fiji to swim with Manta rays. We're offering a new oceanswimsafari to Fiji's Yasawa islands in June. Come with us.
Anyone who has ever swum with Mantas will have been struck by the grace of these creatures. You may be lucky enough to witness a Manta mating train. On this oceanswimsafari, we'll spend part of our time at Blue Lagoon Resort, and part at Paradise Cove, from where we'll join the Mantas.
Come with us... More info and to book... Click here
Our Vanuatu oceanswimsafari is different in 2017. Port Vila is a five-day package from Wednesday, May 24-Monday, May 29, with Santo running from Monday through Friday, June 2.
The organisers of the 3.2km Port Vila swim (this year on Saturday, May 27), now the Port Vila MasterBathers, have returned to the swim's original Port Vila Harbour home at the old Rossi Restaurant now once more named the Rossi following a recent change of ownership, as swim HQ (the inaugural original home was when the swim was an informal event in Port Vila's Second Lagoon, but no-one really wants to swim there these days). Around the swim, we have arranged a series of events to offer you a five-day stay in Port Vila with swimming, dining, exploring and lazing about.
Then we're heading up to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu's "Adventure Island", for a four night/five day oceanswimsafari which this year features the trial of a new swim course past the famed Champagne Beach. We've swum most of this course many times in the past between Lonnoc Bay and Champagne Beach, both ways, but this time we're heading between Lonnoc, around the reef and Timmy's Place, farther along the shoreline. It makes it a slightly longer swim and a much more diverse swim of around 2.5km.
We've also included other local excursions on the beautiful island of Aore, and local swimmers are running the traditional Espiritu Santo Aore Swim from Luganville across the channel to Aore Island Resort, all of which will be available to oceanswimsafarists who come with us to Santo.
We're taking bookings now. For more info and to book... Click here
Heron Island almost ready for booking
Thre are plenty of punters hanging out for bookings to open for the Great Barrier Reef Swim on Heron Island in November. The news is that we expect them to be open within a week or so. Just a few ts being crossed, the odd i being dotted before all is a go-go. Watch this space.
Our oceanswimsafaris in 2017
We've had tremendous interest in our oceanswimsafaris in 2017, so much so that five of them already are SOLD OUT, and one more (Spain's Costa Brava) has just a couple of places left. If you're interested, get in quick and smart.
- Vanuatu - Port Vila (May 24-29)
- Vanuatu - Santo (May 29-June 3)
- Sulawesi (Indonesia, June 11-19) - Sold out!
- Yasawas Fiji - Swim with Manta rays (July 16-23) - New oceanswimsafari!
- Tonga 1 - Swim with Whales 1 (July 25-Aug 2) - Sold out!
- Tonga 2 - Swim with Whales 2 (Aug 1-9) - Sold out!
- Tonga 3 - Swim with Whales 3 (Aug 8-16) - Sold out!
- San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 23-29) - Sold out!
- Costa Brava (Spain, Aug 31-Sep 8) - only 2 places left
- Greece's Northern Sporades (Sep 12-21)
- Yasawas Fiji (Oct 16-23)
- Mana Fiji (Oct 24-29)
- Heron Island (Nov 4-8) - Bookings to open in the next week or so.
oss cossies on sale!
We developed our oceanswims cossies with the help of our cobbers from budgysmuggler.com.au. They're still on special: 10 per cent off whilst the special lasts - Laydees' sizes for $A76.50, Men's for $A49.50.
The Laydees model is designed with racing and swimming longer distances in mind. Mrs Sparkle loves this style, with its narrow straps that slide across the back to suit the way you swim. Very comfy, she says, and they keep her "in", whatever that means. They're chlorine-resistant, so you can wear them in the pool as well as the ocean.
The Gents model...? There's not much you can do with budgys for blokes, apart from make them look good, and chlorine-resistant, and the budgysmuggler people have done both of those things.
We love them. And you can buy them now on special while stocks last... Click here
Website not working for you?
A few people contact us from time to time to report things like, "The website doesn't work". Or, "the entry page is broken". Almost invariably, it turns out to be an issue with their own 'puter, and even, in some cases, they're going to the wrong page to enter. Some punters claim it's all broken, and it turns out they have Googled a swim and have been using a link relating to a past event. Little wonder that that link did not work. Others try to "enter" through other websites that purport to offer entries to swims, when in reality those websites use old or incorrect links. And they don't follow up when links or info changes.
The only reliable way to find a swim's event page in order to enter online is to use the link on our Featured Swims list on our home page (oceanswims.com), or on our calendar (in rare cases, if we are taking entries but the event has not chosen to become a Featured Swim).
Remember to leave your mobile phone number when you enter. If a swim is cancelled or postponed, often we are able to sms you to let you know, if you've entered online. But we can't send you an sms if you've left a landline number. A number of entrants to Bondi and North Curl Curl last weekend did not receive an SMS informing them of the postponements because they did not use valid Strãan mobile numbers with their entries.
Remember, too, you collect your "swim pack" for all swims (other than the Cole Classic) at the beach on swim day. Most swims' "swim packs" are your timing chip (if applicable) and your swim cap. That's all.
Swims open to online entry...
- Feb 26 - Bondi (1km, 2.1km) - postponement date TBA
- Mar 5 - Freshwater (1.5km)
- Mar 13 - Port Noarlunga (1.5km, 2.5km)
- Mar 19 - Newport-Avalon (2.5km), Avoca (500m, 2km)
- Mar 26 - North Steyne (2.8km, 1km)
- Apr 2 - Balmoral (1km + relays)
- Apr 8 - Mollymook (500m, 2km)
- Apr 9 - Coogee (800m, 1km, 2.4km), Forster (250m, 1km, 4.2km), Shellharbour (400m, 1.2km)
- Apr 15 - Terrigal (1km, 2km)
- Apr 16 - Pacific Palms (1.5km, 600m)
- Apr 22 - North Curl Curl (1.5km, 3.8km)
- Apr 23 - Caves Beach (1.5km)
- Apr 29 - Blacksmiths (1km, 2km)
- May 21 - South Head (10km)
New entries here... Pacific Palms (April 16, Easter Sundee)
In the works... Nil this week
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