2021 Jetty to Jetty Swim
It was still dark. The wind blew lightly from the east, where the horizon hinted the day had finally arrived. They lay there, staring at the ceiling. Most had tossed and turned all night. Few had slept, knowing they would have to face us again today.
During the week, hard liquor had fuelled brave talk about outnumbering us. A call had gone out around town, and the organisers were expecting to marshall over 500. Talk is cheap. On the day, over 120 had deserted, leaving less than 400 to face 20 Mannas—odds we liked.
It was a long walk up the beach. Swimmers stepped aside and gave us plenty of room. Some tried to escape in the water but came back out as soon as Joel and the two Steves went in to warm-up.
The organiser's strategy was clear - try to divide us into five waves. We had anticipated this. We knew Joel, Kirk, and Ann single-handed had the measure of the White, Green and Purple waves. That left the rest of us to split and scatter the Pink and Blue waves.
Joel, Kirk and Ann were like hungry wolves snapping at the heels of flocks of defenceless sheep. The rest of us were like a pride of lions, running down panicked wildebeest. It was a slaughter.
A natural order prevailed. We let the fitter younger age-groups flee. We concentrated our focus on wreaking havoc among the old and weak in the 55-64, 65-74 and 75+ age groups. Joel, Steve and Pauline scored clean kills. Anne Marie and Jenny only narrowly missed adding to the tally.
Congratulations to all who swum. Overall we saw many Mannas near their best, and many improvements on last year. Special mention goes to Anne Marie for equalling her PB from 12 years ago. Leading the pack with new PBs were Ken, Cathy, Jane, and Pres. Steve.
The change of season is relentless. The shorter days and longer nights drive the swimmers away from the ocean to congregate around pools. But there is no escape - the Mannas will be back next week.