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Solo Swims

2016 Duo Swim by Wayne Cable & Ray Reynolds

Wayne and Ken (Paddler) before the start

Yahoo, we did it. After months of training and planning the big day finally arrived.

We had a very early start at 2.30am on Saturday 27th February 2016. Our boatie Rob, second paddler Deb Brown and Ray set out in the boat to Cottesloe. Wayne, Ken Isbister (paddler) and Cathy drove to Cottesloe. The atmosphere at Cottesloe Beach was fantastic. Full of highly excited and motivated swimmers ready for the start. The beach was alive with paddlers, officials and spectators.

The Premier Colin Barnet was there to send off the first wave of swimmers at 5.45am. The sun was up, a faint breeze and calm ocean. A perfect day for the Rottnest crossing.

There were 13 waves of swimmers, with Wayne setting off in Wave 6 at 6.35am. Ken was at the 500m buoy, wearing a large sombrero hat, with a silver balloon & flag tied to the kayak. There were approximately 200 swimmers in this Wave, so it was important to be visible for swimmer and paddler to meet and proceed together.

Our boat was approximately 1km offshore. We were surrounded by hundreds of other boats. Like us they were waiting for their swimmer and paddler so they could start the Rottnest crossing. No swimmer can proceed past the 1,500m mark unless accompanied by the paddler and boat. With so much congestion in the water, it was a real relief when we spotted Wayne and Ken.

Wayne had been swimming for approximately 30 minutes before our first change-over. This was done in the water with a “high five tag”. The boat moved forward on our planned GPS route. Our paddler followed the boat and we swam next to the paddler. The paddler is the swimmers “eyes” to guide us forward as you actually can’t see Rottnest Island when swimming.

We swam to plan with 20 minute intervals. Paddlers Deb and Ken swapped as required.  When resting between swims it was important for us to rehydrate, eat and reapply sun screen.

The day went very quickly. It is always exciting with so many other boats, swimmers and paddlers surrounding. As the morning proceeded, the field started to string out as the faster swimmers and teams move ahead.

We enjoyed near ideal conditions. Our training really paid huge dividends as we both continued to swim at a good steady pace.  In the lead up to the Rottnest Channel Swim we both had a mix of Mandurah Masters Club pool training, some intensive early morning swim sessions with Barb Pellick’s Rottoswmr Swim Squad, plus ocean swims at Doddi’s beach. Our ocean swim program progressively increased from 2km in October to 5 – 7km swims in January and February.

It was great when we passed the first buoy at the 10km mark. It was even more exciting as we passed other channel buoys with Rottnest Island slowly drawing closer.

At the 19km buoy, all support boats had to leave their swimmers for safety reasons as it gets very crowded. At this point Wayne and I swam together, with Ken our paddler having to leave us at the 19.25km buoy. From here there is a 400m channel that funnels swimmers together towards the finish line. It is a wonderful feeling at this last stage as there are so many other swimmers surrounding, all heading for that finish line ahead. And ohhh the elation when Wayne and I finally crossed that finish line. There was a huge buzz with such a large crowd on the shore to welcome swimmers. We had our own welcome party onshore including Cathy, Sue, Barb & Pete. We were swept along with other swimmers to hand in time straps, get drinks, finish medallions, photos and more well wishes. Ahh yes it was well worth the training, meetings and planning to finish on such an exciting note.

We met back at our boat for celebratory drinks and lunch with our support crew of Rob, Ken & Cathy, Deb and Sue. Many thanks to them all for helping us with our crossing.

On the day there were over 2,100 swimmers. Our duo time was 7 hours 27 minutes. As we are both over 60 y/o it was great to see that we came 7th in the 100+ y/o category.

So you may ask, ”was it worth it?” We both thought it was great achievement which we will never forget. But I guess you will never know, unless of course, you give it a go!

Wayne and Ray after finishing

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