Taking on an ocean swim, particularly if it’s your first attempt, can really get the nerves going, but it doesn’t have to!
First things first, remember you’re doing this for fun, so in the words of Marie Kondo, this swim should ‘bring you joy’ – if it’s not, why are you doing it?
Now that you’ve established that this swim will bring you joy, let’s go about making your swim as enjoyable and worry-free as possible.
Eat foods you would usually eat and avoid high fibre meals
Check over all your equipment and pack your bags with your official race pack, gear and equipment (including spares) and snacks
Get to bed early and read to take your mind off the event and help reduce anxiety
Consume a light snack high in GI carbohydrates and a small amount of protein 2-3 hours before the event (but nothing new!)
Get to Manly and check in early, take public transport to avoid stressful driving and parking conditions
Take the time to view as much of the course as possible, focusing on where you’re likely to return to the beach through the surf (ideally over a sandbank)
Leave your gear with a friend or in the gear check at the Manly end of the swim, or have a friend follow you to Shelly if you’d like to stay dressed until the start
Take your mind off the start by talking to other participants and doing a short warm up and stretch
Keep hydrated, apply sunscreen and stay in the shade until you’re called to the start line.
Choose your position on the start line depending on how you want to compete; the front is competitive, the back to take it easy
Don’t go out too hard at the start, get yourself into a comfortable rhythm and save some energy for the finish through the waves
When finishing through the waves, keep an eye behind you for waves, then ride them to shore until your hands touch the sand
Your body can handle a lot more than your mind thinks it can, so keep going and surprise yourself!
Make the most of the finish, raise your arms in celebration, smile for the camera and collect your finishes medal
If you’re feeling tight, cool down with some light exercise and then dress up warm until you get to shower and change
Rehydrate immediately and eat within one hour of finishing to repair muscles, refuel energy stores and support your immune system
Make sure you share stories with other participants, thank the volunteers and check your result!