Yep. The red circle with the diagonal line through it was stamped on top of Malabar Beach this morning when I checked the Beachwatch website. It was the only beach in Sydney with a pollution warning.
I took my earplugs and decided to keep my mouth shut (I just accidentally wrote 'shit' instead of 'shut') throughout the 2.4 km swim. My mouth is usually full of the proverbial so it sort of makes sense.
The day was hot and Malabar was like it always is. I think I mentioned in a post on this swim last year that sometimes you have to grow up in a suburb to love it.
I dunno. Malabar might have four golf courses and luxury residential developments chewing up what was left of the scrubland, it might be on the coast and within cooee of Maroubra and Bondi, it might be flat and therefore good cycling territory. But it's not for me.
It's a 'sought after' suburb in real estate lingo but ... I know what it is that makes it so wrong! There's no trees. A few but not a lot. And nothing native. Now that's sorted I'll get to the swim.
I didn't register for the 1 km swim, which I regret because my swim-squad peeps Mr Very Big and Mr Mild Mannered did. They didn't tell me (hear the accusatory/petulant tone in my voice).
I got down to the beach as the 1 km swimmers were coming in and was privileged to see three-time Paralympian wheelchair athlete Louise Sauvage finish along with her Canadian friend (also disabled) who swam backstroke the whole course (I bet she's an elite athlete too but I didn't find out her name).
|Louise Sauvage hugs her friend after the 1 km swim|
Louise's motto is: "You never know what you can achieve until you try."
I went into the 2.4 km swim feeling chipper. Malabar is in a bay so there's no surf though there's often swell out near the headland.
The course was straightforward. Three yellow buoys with big red balloons affixed to their tops were lined up out the back of the bay. All we had to do was swim to the first one, chuck a right, swim past the second, and then chuck another right around the third before hitting the home stretch.
I put in my earplugs and felt odd because, you wouldn't bloody believe this, I could hear my heartbeat through the pulse on my neck! Thumpa thumpa thumpa. I'm serious. I'm seriously neurotic too.
The swim began and my goggles fogged so I took them off and cleared them. Then they half filled. I wasn't too worried about that because I was more concerned with the earplugs. The sound in my ears was like a gargle every time I breathed and plunged my arms into the water. I couldn't hear anything else. And then there was the ingestion of much (polluted) water. It's impossible to keep your mouth shut when you're swimming. I am laughing as I write. Sometimes I am dumber than a goose. But how dumb is a goose?
Bloody Mr Very Big (or whatever I call the Irish bastard) tugged on my leg as I swam towards the second can. Then he did what he loves to do. Put on the clappers and left me for dead. He gives me the Jimmy Brits. I hope he gets an ear infection*. Petulant, bad loser... must think of Louise Sauvage and remain inspired.
Even though the water was supposedly polluted, it was rather clear and I saw fish. Hundreds of little ones flitted beneath me so the water quality can't have been too bad. And the temperature was glorious. Just cool enough.
I followed some bloke in a wetsuit to the finish line and beat him over it. I felt pretty good doing that because earlier in the swim he passed me. I don't know what my time is because the results aren't up yet.
All in all, it was a lovely day and beaut swim except for the bitey things that attacked my face, arms and torso. I've written a post about bitey things before. Everyone calls them sea lice but they're not. They're either stingy bits that fall off bluebottles or something to do with jelly blubbers - I'm too lazy to look it up and I've rabbited on for long enough. I don't know whether I'll experience their after-effects tomorrow.
Another reason why this swim is one for the calender every year is that the registration fees go to a great cause, the Rainbow Club, a charity that organises swimming lessons for kids with special needs. There are 16 clubs in NSW and two in Victoria.
Speak soon. Precious Princess is back from Europe this week. It's gonna be a big one.
*As my old mum would say, "That's a joke Joyce."