Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Eight and Proud – LoL8

Lane eight, the slowest lane?  Yes, I’m afraid so. The casual lane? Not! At Wett Ones Master’s Swimming the Ladies of Lane Eight (LoL8) are keen and more competitive than you might imagine.

But, first, an explanation: LoL8 is a misnomer because it is not exclusively female. We have several honorary ladies. Sadly (for the girls) the honoraries tend to be the fastest.

Josephine, Kari and Lindy compete for speed in sets. Who will be first to be a Serious Swimmer of Lane Seven (SSLS)?  Lindy, who has been with the squad for four years? The mega-effort and mega-fit Josephine, who has been with the squad for three years? Or super-keen Kari who joined eighteen months ago.

Then there’s Cecily, who has been with Wett Ones for 14 years and has the most elegant swimming style. Of the honoraries, there is Gordy the speedy youngster who would be a SSLS if he didn’t take so many holidays in Scotland or wreck his style with running; Matt, the Tama Tosser, who just needs to tweak his backstroke before qualifying for the Magnificent Seven; Michael who is a Bold and Beautiful swimmer with Bluewater-sustained endurance; Selwyn, who attends  sporadically until the ocean swims come around; and then  there is much-loved Kevin who has been out of the pool for several weeks because of illness. Everyone misses Big Kev.

The LoL8 each have their own swimming battle. Josephine is addressing the intricacies of butterfly with vengeance.  Lindy works very hard to develop and engage her core. She also tries to remember to  avoid sighting on the end of the pool (well it’s good in the ocean),  Kevin wrestles with tumble turns, Kari changes her stroke with every piece of advice and Matt is working on speeding up his backstroke.

The competition does not rest with swimming.  Kari and Lindy vie for swimming outfits, loud suits with matching goggles and hats.   Cec dons the racier of the Funkita suits and Gordy has a groovy collection of Funkytrunks. LoL8 have a weakness for Funkita and Funky Trunks.

Casual we are not. We keep to the time repeats, try to do as we are told by the coaches and have a high attendance record. We may aspire to join the SSLS and admit we will never become  Heroes of Lane Six but we are very proud to be the Ladies (and gentlemen) of Lane Eight.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Bold and the Beautiful

The Bold and the Beautiful (From Splash-e August, 2013)
The Bold and the Beautiful is an informal ocean swimming squad in Manly. They meet at the south end of Manly Beach every day at 7am to swim around to Shelly Beach and back again. The distance is 1.5 kms. The squad includes swimmers of all abilities. Some swim in wet suits, some with flippers. Some swim to Shelley Beach and walk back while some walk to Shelley  Beach and swim back.  The squad attracts around 150 swimmers.

It’s a friendly and relaxed group that welcomes newcomers. The swim is magnificent.  The marine life in Fairy Bower Bay is gorgeous. Occasionally the squad is accompanied by dolphins. Once a whale joined the lucky 49 swimmers

Newcomers can just turn up a little before 7am outside Manly SLSC. They then register their details and have their photo taken. They are then presented with a B & B pink swimming hat which needs to be worn each swim. There is no water safety with the group. There is no timing. There are no results. There is no water or fruit at the end. After the swim many go to Bluewater Café, one of their sponsors, for a coffee or breakfast.

Swimmers can earn a Cold and Beautiful badge for winter swimming if they complete 20 swims over the 13-week winter season.   During the summer the challenges are 6-km swims and 10-km return swims to Freshwater Beach and Curl Curl.


Great rock baths in Sydney: Wylies Baths, Coogee

Wylies Baths is a 50-yard (45-metre) pool built into the rocks at the southern end of Coogee Beach. Built in 1907 by Henry Alexander Wylie, a champion distance and underwater swimmer, it was renovated 20 years ago. Wylies kept its traditional character after the refurbishment, but gained hot showers, spacious decks and a café.  

The pool is alternately drained and topped up by the tides, ensuring clean, clear water. There are fish too. Sadly, a short time ago the long-term resident octopus died.  

The waves break over the pool at high tide. And when the surf is up, swimming can be very challenging. It’s best to check the website, which is updated every morning, about the temperature and condition of the water. You may get a warning about stingers. There are lifeguards on duty.  

The café serves excellent coffee and the view of Coogee Bay from the deck is gorgeous. The pool is open 365 days a year although on weekends it sometimes closes early because of wedding parties. During the summer the pool is open 7am to 7pm and in the winter 7am to 5pm. Entry is

$4.50 for adults and $2.00 for children and pensioners. Remember a 20 cent coin for a hot shower. Parking is available and the bus routes 313, 314, 353, 370, 372, 373 and 374 will take you to Coogee.


My new blog

Sunday, August 18, 2013
Finally I have got around to starting  my swimming blog.  I love swimming, I love water. All kinds. Pool water, sea water, lake water, river water and even bath water. I belong to Wett Ones, Sydney,  Australian Master's swimming squad and swim with them three times a week. During the summer months I do most of the ocean swims around Sydney. Now it's winter and I have started swimming on Sundays with the Bold and the Beautiful at Manly. Today was my third swim with the group. My husband Sid and daughter Leah came with me today. We swim from Manly SLSC around to Shelly beach. We stop and wait for the whole group, then set off for Manly all together. This happens fro the lucky locals every day, 365 days a year. The swim was beautiful. The water was flat and clear. It's getting a bit lighter as Spring approaches and the sun was peeping around Shelley beach when we arrived. On the swim back ther were pretty reflections through the water.