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 feel you can.
It is a long way to swim so please enjoy the energy and drafting effect of being near others but don’t start off like the clappers and think 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.
We were dorks and worked this out. It’s not scientific but as a guide:
1.21 pace/100 – 50mins
1.30 pace /100 – 55.5mins
1.40 pace/100 – 1 hour 02
1.50 pace/100 – 1 hour 08
2.00 pace/100 – 1 hour 14
2.15 pace/100 – 1 hour 23
2.30ace/100 – 1 hour 32
Setting a race goal
Yeah, putting a number on it is a nice idea but please don’t judge your satisfaction with your race via a number on the clock. As my Dad would say just do your best and that’s all you can ask for. We don’t know what the weather will be like and the conditions at the end compared to last year? You might get lost in a day dream and zig zag your way home, be caught behind a pack of thrashers or stung by Jelly fish plus a myriad of things that can be happening to your body and in your personal life. Your race goal is to do your best!
A race plan
With a smile on your dial, a song in your heart…sorry – a race plan….
- Start off way slower than you think – then some. Aim for the end of the Jetty using the ocean cans to guide you, rather than the Jetty itself. This cuts a corner off. As swimmers come past you don’t be afraid to hitch a ride or simply choose your own path and find a rhythm.
- It gets choppy at the end and can be congested so keep your cool, focus on getting your arms into the water as if you are swimming down hill.
- Once around the Jetty, regroup – you are almost half way. I like to do a body check, how are my hands, arms, head, shoulders, posture, core, legs moving – if I don’t like it I eject the video and reset. Feel where you are pushing the water back and how every stroke is getting you there sooner.
- I like to hug the jetty on the way back for some protection and to make sighting super easy – just watch out for the team transition ropes in your way.
- At alleys landing – where the Jetty dog legs – move away and start sighting for the shore line. There are bright things at the finish – aim for them.
- As you near the finish keep swimming until your fingers touch the bottom – even if others are walking – your legs won’t be your best friend after an hour of lying on your face exercising.
- Remember your finish line photo face – smile – you did it!
- Go and drink and eat something and wrap your towel around you. Then enjoy the spectacle of watching others finish.
A few Don’t forgets:
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 3.6km 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 on Saturday not on the day
It’s too late to hydrate the morning of the race. You need to make sure you drink 2L of water over 3 hours on Saturday morning and then a normal amount throughout the day. This fluid intake really supports your bodys ability to perform. Morning of, I would have a tried and tested breakfast pre swimming. For me it’s a smoothie with milled oats for energy 2-3 hours prior to swimming. Please don’t have anything new pre swim. Its not worth it.
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 the Busselton Jetty Swim!!!