|Not Malabar, no. Byron Bay last week when a mob of punters turned up to swim newd. A bit distracting for the locals, according to our reporter on the ground The Sports Mistress (@Sports_Mistress).|
- You've got the choice of a short/long or both.
- There's a relaxed atmosphere - pretty much the only people that are there are those there for the swim in some way.
- It's in aid of the Rainbow Club - which is all about getting children with disabilities swimming in order to realise their potential (and today into the ocean).
- The club turns on a great show - loads of water safety, briefings, fruit, 'tap' water, energy drinks and a running commentary with loudspeakers on the beach and in the park to keep everyone well informed on what's going on!
- Added to that is some live entertainment (the songs of which can stick in your mind for the swim), a bbq stall & coffee van, prizes by the bucket load and a great day out.
Anyway, the swims
I always intend to do this as a 'warmup'. Right. I took off in my wave with another swimmer who kept such a steady pace to my right it was lovely to swim with. Occasionally she'd be further over, then we'd be closer together, then I might be in front (not often), then she - right until the very end really. All I tried to do was not stay behind her - I don't find it easy to be behind people - can't 'see' as such. It was a good pace and I totally enjoyed the race! The downside - after I stopped for a breath, had a drink, is I got a little cold. I spent the time between this race and my start in the next wrapped in my towel and dancing around under the umbrella trying to stop shivering and warmup. I did in the end stop. Just before I had to unwrap and head back into the water.
So - that meant I had to get going to get warm. Off we went. It seemed a faster pack of swimmers this time and I was going slower too - yep, run out of puff. It didn't matter one bit - this was the course that changes when you keep going past the first buoy . . . you are heading much further out - all the way to the farthest buoy with the helium balloon on top of it - the great thing was that the red of the balloon stood out really well against the grey seas and skies so it was a nice target.
There's more of a swell out the back - so you are sighting on top of the roll and just swimming through the flat. I seemed to notice the sea life more - more rocks, more fish (and there was some rubbish unfortunately - those plastic bags just float around) and a huge clump of seaweed at one point. I had time also to watch the rocky cliff edges a little more - time to breathe more regularly and then rounded the first buoy+balloon and out a little to the middle buoy and then across to t'other side and second buoy+balloon. This bit was FUN. The ocean was giving you a push on your way over - I always feel it's a bit like catching a wave that doesn't break - but just rolls you along with a little pause between push. Lovely. Rounding the farthest buoy+balloon was a bit odd for me - I got there but was being pushed just a little to the right by both the ocean and another swimmer so I literally brushed past it at the turn. Kind of caught me by surprise - I usually stay wide. I'm putting it down to just having too much fun and not paying enough attention to my course. To the guy on my left I hope I didn't throw you off as well.
Back on course, and heading straight(ish) for the shore - it was a long ways out. You could see the buoys but you really just had to head to the finish (keeping left of any buoys) - so I just sighted off the blue sails over the kiddies playground which were directly above the finish line and kept it simple. That meant I was over to the left of many swimmers - I remember last time there seemed to be a current running against me on the way in but this time we were in the lull around the high tide so it was just a good swim in.
The water was still moving around out the back - but the closer you got to the shore the calmer it became - then you were just gliding through the water.
Exfoliation - Free!
Well, there was one surprise. The pumice stones.
There were patches of them floating on the water and it was an odd feeling to be swimming through rocks. They don't hurt, they aren't heavy or large - it's just really strange to swim through. If I hadn't been looking at them on the beach before the swims I mightn't have know what it was. Sometimes we have that exfoliating swim through seaweed - today our skin was perhaps being smoothed as we swam. Added bonus.
And so the race came to an end - the last few metres swimming over the rocky shallows that last year we had to stumble over as the tide was low. Much easier - swim right up to the sand then engage the legs and run (not fast) to the finish.
This swim was done - but the show wasn't over yet.
For me, there was a quick shower to rinse off and change, and don the warm hoodie I'd brought with me. Then a wander up and over the road to the nearby cafe to get a takeaway bacon & egg roll & a coffee - then back for some chitchat with other swimmers, checking of the results, staying
around for the FOS random draw (ok - at this point I have to say I got lucky so that was very nice - thanks oceanswims.com & BudgySmuggler) - and then the presentations and speeches. For the first time there were also prizes to recognise the achievements in both swims of both senior and junior swimmers with a disability. These swimmers swam the race with everyone else in their age groups - there's no quarter given and none taken or expected! It's just all in for a swim.
Now I have been remiss in not mentioning the Rainbow Club more - and those swimmers who outswam many today yet who are challenged day-to-day by their disability. There's the amazing Louise Sauvage - a Paralympian who swims in my age group and is a patron of the club; James Pittar who swims the so many long swims around Sydney (not to mention the world) and is an ambassador for the club; and young Georgia - the first club member to participate in the 'Magic' and who swam the whole 1km swim course today! This is what the club is all about - and what all today's proceeds and fundraising efforts are for - supporting kids with a disability to learn to swim and through that perhaps help them realise their potential.
Added to that - the swim bears the name of the great Murray Rose. I love these words from the website ...
Murray Rose was a great supporter of the Malabar Magic and one of the original creators of the Magic. It was his vision to have an Ocean Swim to raise funds for Rainbow Club Australia, a charity of which he had been the Patron for many years.It was a great swim and despite the rain and the grey day the magic was definitely there both in and out of the water.
Murray always believed that magic occurred in the water - when he swam for Australia or indeed just swam, when the children of Rainbow Club accept the challenge to fully explore their abilities, and when 1000 swimmers splash into the waves of Malabar Bay to raise funds for these children.
The Rainbow Club Australia was saddened when Murray passed in early 2012. His enthusiasm for all things Rainbow Club and for the Magic will be greatly missed. And it is in his honour that the Board of Rainbow Club Australia agreed to rename the event Murray Rose's Malabar Magic Ocean Swim.
Results... click here
GoBraveDave was at Phillip Island...
Read his blob... click here
Tell us what you thought of the weekend's swims...
Swim for Saxon at Queenscliff, Murray Rose Malabar Magic, Phillip Island swims... click the comments link below