To fully qualify for a solo entry of the Rottnest swim, I had to swim 10km non-stop in less than 4 hours 15 minutes. This is because they have to ensure you're capable of completing the stretch in the allocated cut off times. Admittedly, I was quite nervous before this swim. It was the longest distance I would have covered since swimming the English Channel in 2007.
Steve and I ventured down to the ABC (Andrew Boy Charlton) pool early on a Saturday morning where we met several others also about to embark on their time trial. I felt incredibly special to have my little support team (aka Steve Hopkins) with me - who watched the entire swim and timed every 100m split. Check out my split times here
We tackled the 10km swim by breaking it down into chunks - 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m and so on up to 1000m and back down again. This covers 10km! I used this swim as a way to also try out some different feeds. These included gels, bananas, jelly chumps & energy drink. I discovered that anything that takes longer than 3 seconds to chew and swallow is definitely not going to work..so it's pretty much gels all the way! I might pop a honey sandwich or two into my feed box for the Rotto swim in case I get real hunger pangs but gels are great to get an energy hit...fast!
Just completed 10km!
I was delighted to complete this 10km in 3 hours 9 minutes. A great result - a lot faster than I was expecting. What you have to bear in mind, however, is that this is in the pool where there are no waves and every 50 metres there's a wall to push off from! So...take 3 hours 9 minutes and add another hour at least for the ocean. I'm not expecting to complete Rotto in less than 8 hours (and that's on a good day!).
It was a great landmark to pass and I felt great at the end of it. Only 8 weeks before I wouldn't have been able to do 2km before getting out. Getting my fitness levels up to speed has been a big part towards this 10km, but the main driver that kept me going, and turning around at each lap (200 of them!) was my mental strength. I didn't want to get out..not once..even with the wall and steps RIGHT THERE. This means more to me than swimming 10km..it proves to myself that I have the mental stamina to do this 20km Rottnest Swim..and that's 80% there!