Point Leo SLSC Swim Classic 2019 Report

Photo Credit: Swimland Swim Club Facebook Page
  • Location: Point Leo Surf Lifesaving Club, Victoria, Australia
  • Times:
    • 2.5 km Swim Challenge: 00:43:48
    • 1.2 km Swim Classic: 00:21:25
    • 4 km Beach Run: 00:12:54
  • Overall Places:
    • 2.5 km Swim Challenge: 55/128
    • 1.2 km Swim Classic: 124/271
    • 4 km Beach Run: 7/59
  • Full Results

It was good to be back at a swim comp after the disaster that was the WOW Challenge Open Water Championships. That 10km open water swim was a great learning experience for me and a kick in the ass, reminding me to properly prepare. I’m not superman and can’t keep expecting my heart to get me to the finish line with all these races. For the WOW Challenge Open Water Championships I swam twice in two months to prepare, had no wetsuit and didn’t pay enough attention to both; the buoys which were keeping us on course and the course briefing which explained to us the course route. As a result I swam the wrong way and ended up swimming 12 km, this could’ve been alright if I properly prepared, was faster, had a wetsuit and wasn’t freezing but I was and as a result didn’t make the cut off with around 500 m – 1 km to go. Not only did I get a DNF but to add to the failure I couldn’t stop shivering uncontrollably for a good 2 hours. But enough of the past this report is about the Point Leo SLSC Swim Classic 2019.

I was looking forward to this comp in particular because I wanted to distance myself from the failure of the WOW Challenge. Swimming in another open water comp would help me do this, the other cool thing was the day was set up so I could enter all 3 major events, the 4 km beach run, 2.5 km open water swim and 1.2 km open water swim. I hadn’t competed in numerous races in one day since my lifesaving days so this mixed things up a bit which I appreciated. The races were also shorter than the races I normally enter, most races I compete in these days are 1 hour + in length whereas the longest race for this event was the 2.5 km swim which ended up taking me around 45 mins so this was a nice change, it was also a reminder that distance isn’t the only factor when it comes to difficulty. Intensity which is pretty obvious is a major factor with the difficulty of a race and honestly I wasn’t used to the intensity of the races. The day started off with the 4 km beach run, I rocked up about 30 minutes before the start time which was 10am. It wasn’t the most pleasant morning to be at the beach, it was warm but overcast so I wasn’t overly keen to spend extra time at the event before the race start. I also wasn’t expecting to be a place-getter as I’m not a fast runner or swimmer and the event was low key so I didn’t bother warming up or preparing like I would for a big race. I’d still do the best I could do whilst racing though. Anyway after collecting my race package with the essential timing band, swimming caps and event t-shirt I put down my gear bag in a safe place on the sand and head to the starting line which was set up next to the ocean. I was relaxed, in good spirits and wasn’t feeling the need to push myself to the front of the starting line, so I made some space and set myself at the back of the pack with the intention of running on the outside of the pack if I needed to pass people. It turns out I would need to pass quite a few people, I started at the back (a group of 59) and ended up 7th so I was happy I made myself a good amount of space which allowed me to pass people without having to slow down. To be honest it was a shock to the system to be running at the intensity I was running, according to my watch I was averaging 3:50 minutes per km which is much faster than what I’ve been running over the past 9 months, however it felt good. I also noticed as others started to slow down I found more energy reserves which allowed me to try and run faster as the race went on. I’m used to conserving energy for 50 km + runs so it was nice to try and empty all those reserves and not worry about the next 10 km. With all honesty though I was pretty taxed by the 3 km mark I don’t think I could’ve held that pace for another 3 km. So as quickly as the race started it had finished, we run alongside the water, heading towards the north side of the beach for 1 km turned around and retraced out steps back to the start line which we passed and then ran to the south side of the beach for approx. 1 km, before turning around and again retracing our steps to the start/finish line. It was a simple, quick course and according to my watch is was closer to a 3.5 km course not 4 km but either way I finished 7th out of 59 with a time of 00:12:54. Race 1 done.

Recorded Race via Coros Apex Smartwatch

Race 2, the 2.5 km open water swim. I had a good 30 mins to change from my running clothes into my swimming ones. Once I got my wetsuit on, got my goggles and cap ready and had a good look at the course map there was about 10 mins before race start. It was sill overcast but warm and I had a wetsuit so being cold would be an experience that was absent throughout this race. The water conditions as a whole was also pretty good, it was a little choppy and there was a bit of a current that was pulling us north a little bit but nothing serious. So with those conditions we were setup for a pretty good swim. Everyone started together, no staggered starts and as the horn sounded all of us swimmers ran for the water. I dived in swam a little bit, then a little bit more, then a little bit more. I was focusing on efficiency using my kicking to keep my strokes in rhythm which helped to stop me wasting energy and thrashing. If I wanted to go faster I’d kick harder and allow my arms to follow, trying to keep them relaxed. I big mistake of mine for a long time has been to take faster strokes to try and move faster, this method does work for a little bit but requires a lot of energy and kills your upper body. So I kept rhythm, kept an eye out for buoys and before I knew it I’d swam not 1 lap of the course but 2 lap, I was finishing. Unlike my experience at the WOW Open Water Championships I was much more relaxed and was able to get in the zone. As a result time flew by, I hardly even payed attention to the other swimmer which I was both overtaking and being overtaken by and before I knew it I was out of the water and across the finish line with a time of 00:43:48 and came 55th out of 128. Race 2 done.

Recorded Race via Coros Apex Smartwatch

Race 3, the last one of the day. Race 1 was at 10am, race 2 was at 11am and race 3 was at 1pm. The longer break between race 2 and 3 was not a good thing, it allowed my muscles to cool down and get tight, my lats especially. It also allowed tiredness and fatigue to set in and being the smart person I was I only packed a water bottle and a few multigrain crackers so I was pretty fu**ing hungry. But it was what it was, after walking around the beach a little bit it was time to marshal for the final race of the day, the 1.2 km swim. Wetsuit, cap and goggles all went back on, I didn’t need to have a look at the course map this time because it was the same course as the 2.5 km swim except we only had to complete one lap instead of two. 1pm came and the siren sounded, the open male age group (my age group) set off first, unlike the 2.5km swim the 1.2 km swim was a staggered wave start. So I was first up and ran into the water for the second and last time of the day. I was tired, exhausted and hungry for the first 3 mins but as the blood started pumping I woke up. I didn’t really get in the zone like the 2.5 km race but I enjoyed myself, if you could call it that. Like all the races I raced hard however competing against myself more so than my fellow competitors. The swell had picked up a little bit since the 2.5 km swim and as a result I swallowed a bit too much water for my liking but it didn’t affect my performance. With that being said though the 1.2 km race was more frustrating due to the staggered start, the fast swimmers for the other waves kept passing me which honestly bothered me. As much as I was swimming my own race I’m still very competitive and as each swimmer passed me my ego kept taking a beating, making me frustrated. But before I could lose my s**t I got to the finish line and really didn’t do that bad. I’d come 124th out of 271 with a time of 00:21:25.

Recorded Race via Coros Apex Smartwatch

In summary it was a great day out and a huge confidence booster, swimming with a wetsuit was a game changer because I wasn’t shivering non-stop. I also really enjoyed racing in three shorter races, 1 being a run and the other two being swims. The event was well put together by Point Leo Lifesaving Club and the volunteers, staff and water safety did a great job keeping everyone safe and everything running smoothly. There was a good vibe at the beach with competitors keeping a friendly rivalry and there wasn’t much pulling and pushing like lots of other open water swims. Overall I had a good time, so thank you Point Leo Lifesaving Club and everyone who volunteered to make the event possible.

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