Monday, 27 February 2012

Long Reef SLSC Ocean Swim: superfish women of a certain age

Swimmers finish the 1 km event at Long Reef Beach

I can't EVER win when, in my potentially decrepit age group, Female 50-54, there are so many amazing swimmers. I use the word 'freaks' in the most complimentary sense to describe them. 

Here are two examples: At the Long Reef SLSC Ocean Swim held yesterday, Jenny Whiteley completed the 2 km swim in 25:16. She was the FIRST female to finish and came 10th overall out of 309 swimmers*. Of that number, 104 were women. 

If you can't be bothered, the story basically reports on Whiteley's medal sweep at the Masters Swimming national titles in 2010, where she beat former Olympian Shane Gould in 10 out of 11 events. Whitelely holds more than 14 world and national Masters records in the 50-54 age group.

Second across the line was Sue Kearney in 27:00. She was the fifth female to finish and 24th overall. When Jenny's not around, Sue takes her place on the winner's podium.


I dunno if I'll ever be free of them. Maybe I could befriend them and then do something evil to prevent them from swimming. I recall the scandal surrounding American figure skater Tonya Harding, who was involved in a plot to break the leg of her rival Nancy Kerrigan way back in 1994... 

I'd have to break a lot of legs to take line honours. Back to the drawing board.

Here's how I fared. I crossed the line 10 minutes after Sue Kearney and finished 9th out of the 14 competitors in my age group.

However (drum roll for the BIG EXCUSE) I'm sure I could've knocked a couple of minutes off my time had I not mistaken the red Streets ice-cream tarpaulin used by the surf lifesavers for the finish line. 

I'm serious. I started swimming towards it because I couldn't see the white banner with FINISH in huge red letters screaming at me from the beach as I turned at the final buoy. And because I breathe to the left I didn't notice all the swimmers streaking past on my right-hand side. It's pretty pathetic. I'm not proud, just blind. 

Not to worry.  

There's always Freshwater this Sunday. Before I head off from the start line I'll check out the colour, shape and size of the finish-line banner.

Long Reef Beach

BTW, the day was beautiful and I felt pretty good, considering the 3.8 km journey the day before. Not so good was a woman around my age who I met just before the swim started (ocean swimming is like that - you chat with anyone who'll listen and no one seems to mind). She told me she'd been to a school reunion the night before and she and her school mates drank "consistently" from 3pm until 1am. 

I hope she made it.

FYI: In case you wanted some facts about Long Reef, I lifted this from the SLSC website:

Long Reef Surf Club is located at Long Reef Beach on Sydney's Northern beaches.
It is the northern half of the 1.8 km stretch of beach that runs from the base of Long Reef headland to Dee Why headland.

The beach faces South East and has great waves for surfing and swimming, making it a very popular beach. It is ideal for surf club activities as the beach is partly protected by an offshore reef (Long Reef).  

Speak soon! 

*The Tama to Cloey Swim was also held yesterday, which could explain the lower than usual turn-out for this swim. I'm sure there were some super older chicky babes at that one, too. 

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