Williamstown Open Water Championships 2019 Marathon Report

Photo Credit: WOW Challenge Open Water Championships Facebook Page
  • Location: Williamstown Lifesaving Club, Victoria, Australia
  • Time: (see race report for details)
    • According to tomato timing: 04:29:43 (for 10km)
    • According to watch: 04:26:15 (for 12km)
    • Reality: DNF
  • Overall Place:
    • According to tomato timing: 61/63
    • Reality: DNF
  • Full Results

I failed, my first DNF and its playing on my mind. This is the first race report where I felt like I needed to get my thoughts in writing right away. I can’t get it out of my head, it’s haunting my every thought. It was a 10 km open water swim, I swam 12 km, the finishing time (Tomato Timing) has me finishing at 04:29:43 however I never finished. You might be thinking how didn’t I finish if I swam 12 km in a 10 km race? There’s lots of reasons, the main being I swam the wrong way and had to swim back, another reason I was just too slow. I was pulled out due to a cut off time with less than 1 km to go, I was absolutely shattered. I really had to dig deep for this swim, I didn’t have a proper wetsuit so was absolutely freezing after about 4 km, I swam to the wrong buoy which added an extra 2 km +, my foot was stinging after being stung by a jellyfish early on, I was undertrained (I’ve only swam 2 times in the past 2 months) so my muscles were aching and I fought off numerous urges to quit from the how uncomfortable I was, I even had the false joy of finishing in my head after all that struggle because I saw the finishing line. But in the end I was too slow and was forced to get out of the water and onto the boat. I really pushed myself mentally in this one, I never gave up, I swam further than 10 km (the race distance), I was extremely uncomfortable (the cold is my kryptonite) and in the end never crossed that finishing line, I’d failed and it’s killing me. I do know in my head that failure is a good thing, it means I took a risk and it’s an opportunity to grow and improve but I can’t change how I feel in my heart, it f**king hurts. Again though as I said above failure is a good thing and now is a time to reflect, figure out the mistakes I made and start working on them. I’ve already decided I’m entering the Mentone 10 km Marathon Swim where I’ll be able to avenge my failure and implement the lessons I learnt today.

Recorded Race via Coros Apex Smartwatch

I woke up Saturday morning with the dread that I had a 10 km ocean swim with no wetsuit. Being cold is a fear of mine, it’s so damn uncomfortable and I was facing a swim where I’d be in cold water for at least 3 hours, thats 3 hours of suffering for me. I had a hard day of bricklayer labouring the day before, I stupidly had a hard weight session the night before and had 5 hours sleep. Probably not the best circumstance to put myself in the day before a 10 km swim, especially when I’d only swam twice in the past 2 months. I was setting myself up for failure. The swim was at Williamstown, specifically the stretch of ocean at Williamstown Lifesaving Club. It was a miserable morning, overcast with drizzle which was really getting me excited to swim (not). The race was set to start at 8am and I got myself at the beach by 7am so at least I was there on time. Honesty it’s not a beach I would recommend, nothing exciting and smells like jellyfish but that was overshadowed by the lovely community of lifesavers, triathletes and swimmers who were all suited out for their swims. Admittedly I felt out of place, walking around swimmers talking about their recent swims and swim training. I’m firstly a runner, secondly an adventurer/wannabe mountaineer, thirdly a gym rat and maybe fourthly a swimmer, this was not my crowd. But the atmosphere was inviting and positive so it’s all thumbs up from me. The race was also well organised, the buoys were placed well and the set up overall was great. So well done Williamstown Lifesaving Club. I’ve already talked about my race experience, it was painful and miserable however that was my own fault for not being properly prepped. Also if I actually did finish I’m sure I’d look back on it all much more positively but at the moment the DNF is still to raw to be really positive.

In summary the race was run well and objectively was a great morning out, so well done to the race directors and thank you the water safety volunteers and all volunteers (marshals, race pack staff, bag drop staff, etc) who made the day possible. Admittedly though it was all overshadowed by my first ever failure by DNF in any event, at least I can say I’v still never given up.

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