Proud, Humbled, Blown Away, Inspired, Enthused, Excited…. so many positive words I could say about Swimming Women who have seized this summer of swimming by the horns and blown everyone else out of the water. From Rotto soloists, Busselton Jetty first timers and repeat offenders, Rottnest team swimmers and Port to Pub guns and all races in between, even those who made it to an ocean class for the first time, or signed up to a FUNdamentals course and gave it a go. The ocean threw some wild waves at all of us and we came up grinning…more than that.
I have to start with Maritia Lightfoots’ extraordinary Solo Rottnest Channel Crossing. She was simply phenomenal. She planned and prepared for every eventuality, including feeding a small army along the way, yet seasickness hit her brutally. I keep thinking back to the day, watching her vomit whilst swimming as we were tossed around on the boat, she was unable to speak yet continued, taking one more stroke, one more stroke as the island finally got close and closer. It would have taken every ounce of her strength and tenacity to just keep going, to find a place within where she was able to move forward with all her might. It was amazingly inspiring and I feel honoured to have witnessed it.
Then there are the team swimmers who took on the Rottnest Channel Swim and the Port to Pub. You could not imagine that both days would involve such drama with sharks and boats sinking and then stormy high seas requiring the rescue vessels to insist the event be cancelled for safety purposes.
What I am most proud of is how no Swimming Women mermaids gave up, Whilst others were pulling out left right and centre all mermaids just kept going, and in fact were getting stronger and stronger embracing the conditions as the winds rolled the seas around making for bumpy conditions.
The fun, love and enjoyment shared at the Busselton Jetty Swim, especially with those first timers who set themselves a goal that a year ago would have been out of the questions and persisted, training through summer to achieve their mission, was so very special.
And welcome to the newest Mermaids, and those who will be graduating mermaids in the next week or two, you are joining a fold of women who will embrace you with open arms, try to have a go and inspire each other, no matter what level of swimmer you are. We all deserve the right to challenge ourselves, to be brave and do something for us that makes us feel better, to learn something new and have the opportunity to practise it.
Maritia and I are grateful to have the opportunity to coach you all and can’t wait to hear what your new goals are!