Rottnest Channel Swim 2013

evmoevmo Admin
edited February 2013 in Cheering Section
Rotto is coming up this Saturday!

Any Marathon Swimmers Forumites participating?

We already know about @dc_in_sf
(GO, @dc_in_sf !)

Post your updates here...


  • Thanks @evmo

    Water temperature is supposedly a slightly impossible to believe 25C, though the air temp is forecast to be similar, which might result in a miserable day for the pilots and paddlers (and the team swimmers who have to keep getting in and out).

    Live tracking of the event is at I'm swimmer #108. My start time is 6am Perth time (GMT + 8 no DST).

    ~230 soloists in the event, ~140 who have never done the swim solo before. When you consider that only ~1300 folk have one (or more) crossings under their belts, it is mind boggling to me that that number could jump by 10% tomorrow... - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • Good luck DC!
    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Finished in 9.10. The difference between a 20km and 10km swim (for me) seems more about the mental than the physical. Finished in decent shape but had some dark moments between the 12 and 17km marks. Awesome event, race report to follow. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • dc_in_sf said:

    Finished in 9.10. The difference between a 20km and 10km swim (for me) seems more about the mental than the physical. Finished in decent shape but had some dark moments between the 12 and 17km marks. Awesome event, race report to follow.

    Great mood, buddy. Anything beyond about 4 hours, in my opinion, becomes much more about the mental than the physical. Lots of folks see the dark place coming and stop. Fighting through it is not an easy thing to do.

  • Race Day
    The Rottnest Channel Swim is an enormous event, there are an insane number of soloists, duos and teams to get off. Starts are in waves of ~100 at 15 minute intervals. The start has a 500m channel in which nothing but swimmers are allowed, after that you can pick up your paddler and then after the 1km mark pickup your boat. No swimmers are allowed unescorted past the 1500m mark.

    Having done the start before as part of a relay I was pretty comfortable with the process, most folk pick a side (north or south), meet their paddler at the 500m buoy and then the boat somewhere past the 1km mark. Main thing is to put something distinguishing on the paddler (balloons, a flag, tinsel) and the boat so you can find the paddler and the paddler can find the boat. We had Red and White (SERC colors) for the boat, and some yellow ones for the paddler, worked a treat.

    First half was pretty uneventful, though had some momentary doubts in the second hour and made the 10km marker in 4h 10m. Felt pretty good as we saw that buoy but immediately after that my pace dropped from 2.5km/h to 2km/h and started having a lot more doubts.

    I was feeling a bit nauseous from some of the fumes from all the other escort boats around, and this was the longest swim I had done on just Gu Roctane. I added some straight water a bits of banana to my feed cycle, but stayed a little nauseous throughout the swim. Had visions of finishing, promptly puking my guts out and being carted off to the medical tenant. Not sure if those particular fantasies helped distract me or bring me down.

    The race course has km markers at the 10, 12,14,15,16,17,18, 19km marks. They are a little north of the rhumb line for the swim, but because there was a northerly current my skipper plotted the course pretty much along the buoys. As a result I had a pretty good idea where I was at all times. This was one of those missed blessings, when my speed dropped to 2km/hour and I thought I was in for a ten hour swim I was not in a happy place, on the other hand with each 1/2 hour set I would see another marker swing by, and that visible progress was very reassuring.

    The 18km marker is at a place called Phillip Rock, and it really signals the home stretch. My mantra for the second half of the swim was to just make it to Philip Rock, as I knew that if I made it there I would finish on pure adrenaline.

    I managed to get into a swim to the next feed mode which got me through the 12->17km marks, and also switched to a breathe every cycle from every 1.5 cycle. I didn't need the extra oxygen, but found that I thought more when my face was in the water, whereas the breathe every cycle pattern left me less opportunity to get my head in a dark space. The swimming conditions were not great with a southerly breeze hitting the northerly current.

    Once I hit the 17km mark I was actually back in a positive mood and feeling pretty good physically, and final 2.7km swim was pretty easy, and positively idyllic once we got in the lee of the island and away from the breeze.

    Was not exhausted when I got out of the water, and no where near hypothermic (wandered around in my jammers for quite a while). The few times that I felt cold on the swim I think were more head games than anything else.

    Lessons Learned

    1. Backup grease on the boat. Had not planned on it, but the tin of Bag Balm (which I didn't use for my primary greasing) ended up on the boat which was very lucky as I had not greased up on the timing chip on my ankle, and needed to add more to my right armpit halfway through.

    2. Head games. Hopefully having survived this swim will help me stay positive for future swims of this length. The biggest impediment to me finishing the swim though was definitely my own lack of positive attitude in the 3rd quarter of the swim.

    3. Feeds. Will need to experiment more but Roctane does not look like it will cut it for long ocean swims. Not sure if it is the length of the swim or the salinity that is the issue. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • Great report. How did you deal with the temp? Was it too high and make you sweat, or too cozy and make you lazy?
  • Haydn said:

    Great report. How did you deal with the temp? Was it too high and make you sweat, or too cozy and make you lazy?

    I'm still a cold water wimp, so it was actually the perfect temperature for me :-) - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Congrats! Do you go from the mainland to Rottnest or vice versa? Was it hard to find a pilot boat and crew?
  • Two fins up!!!
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
  • Great report on an awesome swim! Thanks for sharing the details of your success.
    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Congrats! Do you go from the mainland to Rottnest or vice versa? Was it hard to find a pilot boat and crew?

    Swim is from Cottesloe Beach to Thompsons Bay on Rottnest. Finding a boat is a bit of a nightmare since there are roughly 800 solos, duos or teams, so every person who owns a boat of the appropriate size gets very popular around swim time. I was lucky enough to get a boat through the friend of a brother of a friend of mine... - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • Light hearted report from the paddlers perspective: time for swimmer 6:10

    The boy swam well. Very relaxed to start with. Then a gradual decaying of stroke and beating the water. At one stage I thought it was raining. Son Brendan was too moist [scared] to kayak on right of the Orca for fear of drowning. As with all us thrashers was attacked by large nanny leaping on his back at about 16-17 kms. She then invited all her mates for a mass feast of mash and Stu was grinding to a halt.
    For some reason my GPS readings were different to the official markers. So according to my Garmin we had done 10 KM but only went passed the 10km buoy with over 11 on mine. I think the Garmin is supposed to be very accurate. We also took the best route no doubt in my mind. We hugged the buoys. We were one of the most Northerly boats but the buoys mark the Northern most point you can swim and is a straight line to the finish. The winning duo team (broke the record) passed us on our starboard, right, northern side. Then they went South. So I cant understand the difference in my GPS and official measurements. My theory is that going up and down in the swell might add to the Kms?? Ray boat man was very good and didn't deviate.
    All of this distance confusion caused much pain and suffering for the swimmer. As we went passed what I thought was 17 an official chap said that it was 15. This after telling Swimmer he had done 17. Very important at that stage.
    Stu "how far is that"
    KR "17"
    Next feed about 1 km further on : Stu "how far is that"
    KR "errr 17"
    Next feed about another 1 km further on : Stu "how far is that"
    KR "mmm 17"
    Swimmer tooooo confused and too beggered to argue. Beaker and KR looking away when Stu looks up.
    Then every 10 strokes "Are we nearly there yet"
    "Errr yes maybe but just swim".
    "how far"
    "Swim" or "closer than before"
    Swimmer close to tears
    As we all know the Island seems so close from about 16-17 km. You know that but like the sirens in the Odyssey-working a mind feck with your head. The last 1km is hell for swimmer. Not great for paddler. "How far"
    "Close but just swim". Repeated 10000 times.
    Really it is still 1 km so is 20 Olympic pool lengths. Considering when we were young we would never had contemplated doing the 1500m nor a 1km race. 200m was only done after much persuasion. So still a fair way away. If paddler had a gun it may have been the humane thing to put swimmer out of misery.

    Talking to a guy who swam in the 3rd place team (x4) event he thought the conditions were fine and one could surf the waves a bit. The other soloists thought it very hard. So theory no2 is that solo too tired and cant get speed to get onto little waves. Teams and duo can.
    Padding one could feel these little swells but then we are higher up and Stu was gradually sinking.
    All in all a brilliant effort from the swim averse SA. To do it from afar is difficult. Not so easy from close either. Swimming harder than other endurance events as have to swim no walking or gliding.
    Goode on yer Stu.
    Team Rotto- Ray boat man, Huns oil man, Beaker cheerleading type token joker, KR rogue paddler, Brendan young lad, all did well and like Huns' sunscreen applying is a well oiled all-knowing machine.
    Not so good was Gary deck hand who became vomit comet after 2 kms. And had a most miserable 5 hours. But made us chuckle.
    Hurrrraaaaaa Rogues

  • congrats on all who made the crossing...huge effort!!!

    for those of you not returning next year do you have any contacts/ tips for hiring a skipper / boat, preferably an experienced hand who knows the shortest route!!! It wil be my first time next year.

    p.s. how did you guys get on with the motor fumes? I presume it was terrible at the start.
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