Tag Archives: swimming

A Rainy Day in Sydney, Australia

3 Oct

Despite the patchy dark clouds overhead, I headed for the river today minus my umbrella.

No problem in walking down  the hill. No problem, getting into the water….

It’s so strange, when it starts to rain while one is swimming…..

It must have a profound effect upon my mood, for I cut the swim short. And lucky I did, for it wasn’t long before the wind picked up, and had I still been wet I would have froze.

Still, I love rainy day photos.

Do you?

It's raining.....

It’s raining…..

I’m Back in the Swim!

5 Sep

Despite the fact that it’s technically very early Spring, I’m back in the water!

Perhaps it’s symptomatic of global warming — I simply don’t know — but for whatever reason,  we have the ideal combination for refreshing, invigorating dip.

The water temperature in the river has hit 18 degrees Celsius: something that normally doesn’t happen until around 22nd September. And more: the daytime maximum is around the mid-twenties, with copious sunshine. Add high tide in the early morning, and there you have it: the perfect prescription for summer fun!

My favourite baths

My favourite baths

 

A Day at the (Swimming) Races

31 Oct

The distant jetty and starting lane numbers

Pontoon and lane ropes

We Australians are a resourceful bunch.

Take this  example.

Mention competition lap swimming, and what venue springs to mind?

Hands up if you said:  Swimming Pools.

Sure, that’s what we routinely  see on television: and, equally certain, that’s precisely where  such competitions are generally run.  I can almost see the pristine water, the perfect tiles, the impressive starting-blocks.

However, the Club where I have swum for decades has a quite different domain: a river baths in suburban Sydney.

Close to fifty metres from the jetty at the far end of the promenade floats a slightly rusty pontoon. To it, our Swimming Club attaches unsophisticated lane ropes.

Bingo! Now we have the means to conduct in reasonable decorum a series of races, in length from twenty-five to two hundred metres. I admit the shortest races are liable to be approximate distances since their finishing line is not set in stone.

However, what we lack in exactitude is more than made up in atmosphere. For my money, its beautiful tree-studded setting wins, hands down!

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What I Love about Swimming

8 Oct

Margaret swimming in the river enclosure

A pretty place to swim

As an observer of life, I contend there are two categories of people: swimmers and non-swimmers.

Having read the title, you’ll know my sympathies.

As a swimming devotee for over three decades, I can vouch for its many virtues.

What better way to spend time outdoors on a sunny day than in the water? So refreshing!

As an exercise, swimming comes into its own.  Compared to, say running, swimming is gentle, and can be continued right up through senior years. It burns calories and promotes muscle tone.
To me, even more important is the relaxation: the feeling of escape from normal life. Humans are, of course, creatures of the land, and venturing into water seems to constitute a break from the humdrum of everyday activities. After swimming, people often say that they feel better. Is this just a matter of improved circulation due to exercise, or is it something more?

Those who like competition may well have the chance to join  Swimming Clubs, and this has the added advantage of social contact. Who knows what marvelous  new friendships you may make?

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Late Last Summer….

31 Aug

You’ve seen the images…..Chicki and me, late last  summer, down by the river.  Chicki was in her short summer clip, freshly trimmed up for our summer heat. The river, cool and refreshing, is home territory for a small group of wild ducks. Sometimes, a little family of ducklings swims along, behind them.

This is where I love to be. In summer I brave the water, sometimes even in the rain. In winter, it’s a wonderful place, just to relax and stroll around in. It’s hard to believe that Sydney is not so far away.

The Baths are Back: But…

5 May

I’ve lost count of how many weeks our local baths was out of action. Ten, maybe more.  So long that swimming there becomes a joy of the past.

So today, when I first see the ‘Baths Closed Due To Health Hazard’  signage finally removed, I look at it with mixed emotions. Sure, I’m tempted to give it a go, but at the same time, the alarm bells still ring in my head. What is so disgusting for such a long time may well have left its taint somewhere; some undiscovered, perhaps well-hidden source.

In other words, I don’t fancy it;  not yet, anyway.

But come next Spring, when the cycle begins again, and deep water and sunshine beckon anew, I’ll bet the call of the tide will once again be strong in my mind, and I’ll venture in again!

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A Great, Grey Day at the Beach!

22 Apr

Why is it that everyone, well, almost everyone, thinks that you need blue skies to have a great day at the beach?

Rubbish. With barely a streak of blue amongst the stunning shades of grey in the sky, I spent a few delightful hours at one of Sydney’s beaches today.

The day was warm and almost windless, and the sea was calm. For a while, I was swimming solo in the baths: until someone else, perhaps spurred on by my presence, or perhaps aware that all was well anyway: swam out into the depths.

The wonderful thing about being alone in the water is that you need never fear collisions with others, and can concentrate fully on the underwater scenery. The shells, the rocks, the sea-plants were all in better focus! In short, I had a very relaxing time!

And, back on dry land, what was their to complain about? The cloudy sky brought with it lovely patterns of muted colours, and soft, misty light in the distance. No glare, no squinting, no harshness: just tranquility!

I’m the first to admit that I, too, like a day in the sun, but realistically, what’s wrong with this subtle, soothing contrast that a cloudy day provides?

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Am I Crazy, or Just Determined?

6 Jan

Today I swam eight hundred metres. Nothing unusual; yesterday I ploughed through a kilometre. The difference was, however, in the conditions.

Yesterday was a normal summer day: warm temperatures, little or no breeze. Overall, inviting for water sports. Today, however, was a different kettle of fish.

The southerly wind blew, gusting stronger at its whim. The sky was grey: the swimmers few and far between.

Alone, I ventured in. Thankfully, the water was warm, around twenty-four degrees Celsius. Yes, it was choppy, but I saw that rather as a challenge, instead of an excuse to stay dry. And it was exhilarating! I felt really alive at the end of it!

And, later, when another swimmer braved it, how proud was I when he chickened out after a mere three hundred metres!

Score a point for us females!

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Roll on, Summer!

23 Aug

What a long winter we’ve had! My last swim in the ocean is but a distant memory!

Mind you, this ‘last swim’ took place during the last week of autumn; not optimal swimming conditions, I can assure you! By then, the water temperature was pretty low, about 14.5degrees Celsius, which may seem steamy to true  ‘icebergs’, but not to this very slim, middle-aged woman!

It didn’t last long: only a few minutes: but nevertheless, it counted as a dip in the briny! Oh, how glorious the warmth of the sun seemed, afterwards, as I struggled to thaw out.

What I’m truly looking for is a beautiful warm, but not too warm, day; the sun shining, the water sparkling, the waves caressing. And then, I’m going to swim for ever! Well, until I run out of energy, in a bit over half an hour. Then I’ll emerge, refreshed, full of vitality, and alive!

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My Favourite Sport

17 Aug

Without a doubt, swimming is my favourite sport.

In my mid-twenties I could barely swim, but with the help of some very good swimmers who coached me, I was able to compete at local club level within months of starting to learn. Two years of consistent training later, I could swim two hundred metres in three and a half minutes; in hindsight, a reasonable time under the circumstances.

My club introduced a one kilometre ( about eleven hundred yards) event almost eighteen years ago, and I have finished in this many times, winning it on handicap a few times. I always feel a sense of achievement: a high: at the end of this race.

At every meeting, my club has fifty metre handicap events, heats and finals. Many think that these sprints are more taxing than long distance events, and certainly it’s the sprints that make nearly everyone out of breath.

Swimming is a great sport, particularly in our climate.  Sydney, Australia: where the summer days are long and hot, quite often. And our beaches are so inviting!

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