- Location: Torquay Front Beach, Victoria, Australia
- 5 km Swim: 01:32:51
- 1.2 km Swim: 00:19:31
- Overall Places:
- 5 km Swim: 41/63
- 1.2 km Swim: 291/695
- Full Results (Timing Band Didn’t Work, Watch Used For Placings)
I’m not going to lie I feel selfish to be going about my day to day activities and competing in races amidst the terrible New South Whales & Victorian bushfires. There’s so many brave and selfless Aussies out there fighting the good fight whether it be as a firefighter, medic or straight up fundraiser and/or volunteer giving their time. Not that it means much but I dedicate this race report to those fighting and struggling amongst the fires.
The event was held at Torquay Front Beach, Victoria and was run by the Jan Juc Surf Lifesaving Club. It consisted of 4 events, the Danger 500, Danger 1000, More Dangerous 2.5 km and Even More Dangerous 5 km. Participants had the choice of swimming 1-3 of these races. Most would choose to compete in 1, the Danger 1000 as this was the signature event of the day. I however being more of a long distance competitor chose to compete in the Even More Dangerous 5 km and the Danger 1000. I didn’t see the point of driving 2 – 2.5 hours just to swim 1 km. To be honest I would have liked to swim the Danger 500 as well and to swim the trifecta of all three races to get the most out of traveling (the 2.5 km and 5 km were held at the same time) however I didn’t see the point in paying another $50 to swim 500 m, especially when I was already paying $100 to swim 6 km. Either way I ended up swimming the 5 km and 1 km.
The day started off at 8:45 am with the 5 km and 2.5 km swims so I was first up. It was beautiful weather to start the day, warm, sunny, no wind and very calm as shown from the photo above. The atmosphere itself was also quite relaxed so this in conjunction with the beautiful weather made to an awesome start, that was until we got into the water. Like most open water swims entering the water is like a frenzy as you’ve got at least 50+ competitors racing in trying to make room for themselves. Theres always so much nudging, whacking, pushing, it’s horrible. I try to keep to myself, be courteous and aware of other swimmers by making more room where possible but sometimes it’s impossible. I get infuriated to the point where I’m holding back the urge to hit some of these swimmers as they almost knowingly cut you off. Enough of me being grumpy though, eventually we all started separating as the faster swimmers moved forward and slower swimmers moved to the back. I always seem to find myself in the middle. I’m not exactly a fast swimmer and never enter expecting a win because although I’m a very competitive person I’m also a realist and understand I don’t do nearly enough swim training to be competitive. I mainly enter to get myself out of my comfort zone and to overcome my social anxieties which leads to a constant want to avoid being around the public. With that being said though I also enter to push myself physically and always have that optimistic and dreamer mentality of what if? Anyway back to the race, like I said before the conditions were perfect it was beautifully calm and the water was warm. The sun was up above us, although there was a little smoke from the fires blocking some of its rays. But other than that it was beautiful and before I knew it I was in a rhythm with Logics song Overnight from his Bobby Tarantino II mixtape stuck on repeat in my head. Stroke after stroke, time seemed to fly by and before I knew it I’d swam the first 2.5 km lap. I guessed I was positioned somewhere in the middle-back of the pack at this stage as swimmers were starting to overtake me. The course was two laps of a 2.5 km rectangle kind of shape and it was very easy to follow. This made it easy for my mind to drift as all I had to concentrate on was swimming, this was the case until about 3 km in. Seemingly out of nowhere conditions changed for the worse, wind picked up, clouds and smoke covered the sky and water chop started to become quite vicious. I would take sips of salty water as I opened my mouth to breath and little white water waves would knock me around. It was a bit of fun at first but after about 1 km I had enough. It’s crazy how much extrinsic factors can affect our mood, when the sun goes away all of a sudden being in the ocean isn’t so fun. A shadow of anxiety and want to get out of the water hit me, I was still calm but it was definitely a damper on my mood. Another km went by and I had about 1 km left, I should say at this point the faster girls who started 10 minutes after us started overtaking me and I was no longer overtaking anyone, I started to wonder if I was last. I was also hungry but I knew I was close to the end, in fact I could see in the distance on the shore, the finishing gates. Which meant it was time to really push harder, the water was only getting choppier at this stage so although I was trying harder I don’t think I was gaining any speed. Within that last km, no one overtook me and I overtook no-one it was a lonely km, just me the choppy waves and water safety. But as I ran up the beach and through the finishing gates it didn’t matter I’d finished. I finished with a time of 01:32:51 according to my watch (my timing band stuffed up) which places me 41/63 overall (see, not a fast swimmer) but I was happy with that I’d tried my hardest, next was the 1 km.
There was about a 3 hour wait until the 1 km race and all I brought was 4 multigrain crackers, I didn’t learn from the Point Leo Classic obviously. This made me feel a little sick and dizzy but in my sick and twisted head this made it more of a challenge. Again I wasn’t expecting a place, I was competing against myself so this would add to the challenge. The wind also continued to pick up and become stronger which made conditions very choppy, and much more exciting. By the time the 1 km races started which were staggered age group starts, the course marking buoys had been taken out to sea. The water safety were unable to keep the buoys in place long enough for swimmers to swim the course. As a result the course was changed. It delayed everything by about an hour and as an open swimmer aged 18-29 I was supposed to be swimming in the last wave which would now take place around 2:20 pm. I couldn’t be bothered waiting this long though and still had to drive the 2-3 hour trip home so asked if I could swim in the 60-65 age group, and to my surprise was allowed. There was about 20-30 of us and although I was a youngster I still wasn’t top 10 material. I didn’t care though I wasn’t there to win and at 12:45 pm off we went, me and 20-30 60-65 year olds. Conditions were rough, and I really had to concentrate on the buoy markers to stay on course which now made a M shaped course. I was going up and down waves, I was rattled from side to side, it was a mess but an enjoyable one, I was having a blast. The extra challenge of the conditions made the race so much more fun and because there was only 20-30 of us there wasn’t much pushing or pulling. If you were someone who got boat sick you would have hated this one. Whilst swimming I was around the front-middle of the pack but the leaders were no where to be seen. It felt great to be going 100% though, unlike the 5 km which required me to pace myself even if I didn’t have a lot of energy due to not eating enough. The race went on and eventually the end was in site, everyone seemed to struggle to swim in a straight line towards the finishing gates due to the conditions. But we got there, and after 00:19:31 I finished. I was met with some astonished eyes as I was the youngest 60-65 year old anyone had seen.
Thank you to all the water safety and volunteers who contributed their time to make the race happen. The water safety did a great job adapting to the conditions and changing the course for the 1 km and keeping the race going. They also did a great job keeping us safe and I even noticed a few cheering swimmers on, which was great. Thumbs up to Jan Juc Surf Lifesaving Club for doing a great job hosting the event as well. The Danger Swim Series was set at a great location and was an enjoyable swimming experience. I’d recommend it to any open water swimmer from a beginner who could try the 500 m or 1 km to the most experienced who could tackle the 5 km, 1 km and 500 m in one day.