The swim around the historic Busselton jetty is satisfying, frustrating, tiring and enjoyable all at once. It is a great achievement for any swimmer and a brilliant gauge of your current level of swim training, but use time taken as a guide not a description. Any open water swim is subject to so many external influences!
A few pointers for those of you who are swimming this weekend:
Start off slower than you think
It is a long way to swim so please enjoy the energy and drafting effect of the start. Swim easy rather racing off like the clappers and thinking it will make your finishing time faster. Your overall time will be slower if you go out too hard. Even 10 seconds per 100 in the first 200 metres can add 30 plus seconds per 100 over the last km!!!! Pace yourself.
Position yourself at the start
From what I can gather your time will start as soon as you cross the timing gates. If seconds matter as soon as you pass this, get in and get on with it. Try to get on the right of the holding area/ timing gate. Generally you get blown onto the Jetty and following it tightly on the way out is a longer journey so start on the right of the pack and aim for the end. You always get there sooner. If it’s a howling westerly then aim for the left of the queue instead and enjoy protection from the Jetty.
Don’t worry about other people
I appreciate that’s a bit tricky when there are 7500 people milling around but you are there for your race. Swimmers come in all shapes and sizes and it isn’t always the super fit looking ones that are the fastest. The water treats us all equally and any wasted energy thinking about what other people are doing is energy you cant put into your swim. Just smile and swim.
Make like a crocodile
It’s hard enough to swim in a straight line in a swimming pool with your eyes closed for just 15m so with no lane lines for 3.8km it is really important that you sight regularly. Failure to do so will add distance and therefore time to your swim. You don’t need your mouth to see so ensure you lift your head just enough for your eyes to take a quick snap shot of what is ahead of you. Process that info whilst you take a few more strokes and then take another photo. By adding the details of each photo together you can build up a great picture of where you are without slowing yourself down too much!
If your mouth comes out of the water your legs will drop and it will slow you down.
Draft, Draft, Draft, Draft
You can save 30% of your energy by drafting. It is deceivable just how quick you can move nestled in nicely behind someone. The optimum place is on their hip but just behind the feet can be easier. Think of all the water moving from a group of people, just like going down the lazy river at Waterbom park – you keep moving even though you aren’t doing anything. Sadly getting around the jetty still requires some effort but don’t avoid the crowds because you think it will be easier to swim!! Embrace a mate and enjoy the ride.
Hydrate all Week
It’s too late to hydrate the morning of the race. You need to make sure you hydrate well all week. Waking up to pale wee should your normal. This fluid intake really supports your body’s ability to perform. Morning of, I would have a tried and tested breakfast pre swimming. Something I have had before other long swims and training sessions – NEVER ANYTHING NEW. For me it’s a glass of almond milk, some toast and jam and a coffee around 6, a banana around 7.15 and fluids for comfort. Please don’t have anything new pre swim. It’s not worth it.
There will be free water stations around the event precinct. Be sure to take your SW water bottle to fill up and save plastic. You can order one here if you don’t have one.
Don’t Worry About Sleep
Scientific studies have shown that not sleeping the night before an event will not impact your bodies ability to perform, but it can impact on your mood which in turn can impact your performance. So if you sleep you sleep. If you don’t you don’t. As bobby McFerrin would say – “Don’t worry – Be Happy”.
You have entered for fun so remember that as any nerves creep up on you, or if you get stung, or knocked about by an over enthusiastic participant with tickets on themselves.
Soak up the brilliant atmosphere, the chunner and chatter of other swimmers, the smiles of the volunteers and spectators who all think you are amazing for taking part. Keep swimming until your hand touches the sand and revel in the sensation of completing your Busselton Jetty Swim!!!
You can find out more from the Busselton Jetty Swim event organisers here.