20 years ago I participated in my first ocean swimming event. It was the inaugural Gracetown Easter Bay swim and it dawned on me that was a really long time ago.
I have such wonderful memories from that very first swim, with about 50 other people. The official race age groups were under 40 and over 40. I was fortunate enough to win the under 40 first prize of an awesome hand thrown pottery mug made by local artist Bill Meiklejohn. This was followed by my first ever chiko roll and trip to Caves house for a Sunday Session. Those were the days.
Just this week I swam with Bills wife Bobby and I realised just how long I have owned that mug as a treasured possession. I have been lucky enough to add 3 more to my collection over the years but it isn’t only the mugs I hold dear. I think I have experienced pretty much most things you can in an ocean swim at that event over the years.
I have swum as a backpacker, and now a local business owner, as a 22 year old, 6 months pregnant and as a mum of a 3 who now falls into the over 40 category!
I have been kicked in the neck, sworn at and thumped. I have had panic attacks, been rescued by the jetski, yet fortunately I was faster than the obligatory dogs that have completed the race.
It is an event to catch up with friends from Perth at Easter, and appreciate why we first moved here from a visitors perspective.
I have learnt to love seaweed, I now pretend it is left over tinsel swaying in the ocean current. I have nearly crashed in to the rock and definitely swam off course a few times.
I love the camaraderie, the energy of just rocking up for a swim with others without the whole hoo haa associated with some events. I love that I may win a crayfish and that I get to share the event with my family and wonderful Swimming Women and Swim Men.
Thank you Gracetown Ocean Swim and all the people who have helped organise it, donated prizes (please bring back Bills Mugs) and taken part over the last 20 years. I look forward to the next 20.