It's the middle of summer in Sydney and today it rained. Thank god. For locals, this is a welcome respite from the sweltering heat that so often leads to bushfires.
The rain didn't stop 450 people from turning up to Newport Beach for the Pool to Peak 2 km swim. When I arrived at around 9.30am it was drizzling, a wee bit chilly, and the surf looked like it was building up.
I was without my swimming mate, Davo, who had promised me he was going to enter a swim down south at Gerringong. I phoned him when I arrived to discover he'd reneged on his end of the deal. His excuses didn't wash with me - too rainy, too miserable, chores to do around the holiday house. Big sissy. Mummy's boy.
But I hadn't driven all the way to the bloody northern beaches for nothing (also I'd entered the swim online, so I'd already forked out $25). I was committed.
The swim started bang on 10am, with the under 20s heading out first and the old codgers last.
Fortunately, the conditions weren't as shocking as those at Bilgola in early December, where the chop was so rugged it was impossible to establish a rhythm.
Once I was out beyond the gentle Newport breakers it was easy to get into the swing of it. I did the usual - too many pauses to look around - which always slow me down. Plus, I have a habit of swimming wide of the buoys. I have no sense of direction. But today the buoys were easy to spot in the distance and I managed to stay, mostly, on course.
There was a really nice part of the swim, heading north parallel with the beach, where a favourable current helped everyone along. Getting out of the water was as easy as getting in. The waves rolled in and I swam with them.
The last swimmer was an elderly woman who came in way after everyone else. The surf lifesavers on the rescue boats stayed with her and encouraged her to finish. By this time the drizzle was blowing about on the wind and everything was grey. From the clubhouse people clapped and cheered as she was helped up the beach.
It was one of those feelgood days. (Oh, except for the microscopic sea creatures that got caught in my cossie. Now my tummy is itchy)