I had one job to do, just one job and I blew it
I made it through the crowds of fit men, women, children and others all in their various coloured caps going to their marshalling points. I found our group and as they sang the national anthem, I took a couple of photos of our group of swimmers Sue was in a silver hat, Steve in Green, Mark (aircon) in Siver, Mark (cycle mishap) in Green, Kendal and Kerry in yellow, Will, pretty in pink, Dom (not sure of cap colour) and the group, I was to help Andy, Max and Selwyn in white caps.
Soon after we saw wave after wave of swimmers going out to do their bit and me doing my bit carrying their bags around the jetty. Andy was our starting swimmer and we followed him as he strode into the water as we strode the jetty following Andy’s progress. We cheered him giving him more encouragement as we knew that the easterly was going to play havoc with his breathing. Andy was doing well as we turned to watch the contest for the leading swimmer and we saw two swimmers going very fast and the race commentator announced that a race record was possible as Kyle Lee surged toward the line. Andy meanwhile having made it past the halfway stage was now in trouble and my last sighting of him was when he was doing backstroke at the back of the pack. We had had to avoid a lot of people on the jetty but we were soon at the first changeover point where we found Max very keen to get going. Max and Selwyn went back looking for Andy while I kept the bags safe watching the change over area hoping to see him.
Selwyn and Max arrived and with the news that Andy had withdrawn with the team disqualified. Max and Selwyn decided to press on receiving permission to continue and complete the race. With Max’s gear in my bags, he jumped in then promptly laid-back smiling. When Selwyn noticed this, he gave Max the charge “start swimming” but Max as only max can do simply said “I’m having a pee” before turning and racing for the end of the jetty and Selwyn and I swapped to the other side where the last swimmers will change and waited for Max to arrive.
Part of my duties were taken off me when Andy came on to the jetty, we gave him hugs all round as he explained he could not get his breathing right so having to withdraw. Andy went off to the finishing line with the two bags I had been caring for Andy and Steve. Selwyn had his blue bag and I would take it to the finish line once he had swapped with Max.
We did enjoy the sights as by this time all the caps had mingled together and in the clear blue sea, we could see all the various types of strokes that had me thinking that a video of this would be an excellent tool for the coaches.
Selwyn was getting edgy as the white four-person relay teams started to come into the change area. So, for whatever reason I thought it a good idea to walk up and see where Max was then going back and tell Selwyn to get ready as he was on his way. I did see some great sights where I think it was a non-sighted man going stroke for stroke with another man who seemed oblivious to the close contact he was receiving; another was where I thought a rescue was in progress but I believe it was an NDIS person in a face mask being helped along by two lady angels to achieve their goal. Not having seen Max, I hurried back and to my utter amazement neither Max or Selwyn was anywhere to be seen.
I gave a quick look around but saw nothing so wrongly assumed that Max had the bag. Not so as after racing to the finishing line and seeing both Max and Selwyn coming out of the water I thought “Bugger” and another “Bugger” as Selwyn said “did you pick up my Blue Bag?” I said “No but I will go and get it” I did curse myself for quite a while but once on the jetty and still seeing swimmers having a go, some off course but still swimming having a go I thought its ok just get the bag back. I asked every official coming of the jetty and yes, they had seen it. It was close to the last change over when the official handed over the blue bag. I was happy again as I could hand over Selwyn’s bag to him. I relaxed on the way back hearing Selwyn’s phone going off in his bag. Soon I saw Sue, Selwyn’s wife coming toward me also looking for same blue bag. Sue had done well taking just fifty-five minutes to swim round the jetty. We met the crew at the end of the jetty so Sue returned the bag to Selwyn.
We met the others and Max was the star turn as he told the story of the changeover. While I was away heading to the end of the jetty Max had arrived at the landing and had asked in a very audible voice “Is this stage three relay point: “Yes “the officials said and max said “Where’s Selwyn” “Who is Selwyn” “He’s my swimmer” so then the crowd erupted “where’s Selwyn “and repeated it until Selwyn looked down saw Max and started to get ready. By the time Selwyn was ready Max had decided that he had waited long enough and continued on to the finish line. Selwyn now down on the landing looking the part six foot of rippling muscle said “Where’s Max” and the crowd erupts again “Where’s Max” the officials then say “he’s Gone” so Selwyn jumped in to catch Max and catch him he did at the finish line.
It was a great tale told by Max yet we did have other stories. Mark (cycle mishap) disappointed with a 1.05 when he wanted 1.01 and now needed a coach to cure his stroke, Will coming in in 1.31 having to give bragging rights to granddaughter Julia, a fine Trigg Island swimmer who swam it in 1.24. Steve the banquet king was happy with his 1.07 and his radar arms that kept him on course all the way. Kendal and Kerry happy with their Jetty to shore swims. Sue our star turn with 55 minutes as well as Mark (aircon) in 55 mins. Dom, a smidge over the hour. Max happy doing three legs and proud of it, Andy pleased to have taken part but will be happy with the Saturday sessions and Selwyn great performance on the last leg showing great trust in the back up crew to bring his bag back to shore.
And to this volunteer who is in awe of everyone who took part in the swim a great thank you for allowing me on board even after I failed at the one job I had been given
Kyle Lee winner in 39.24.2 beating Kaiden Richings 40.27 – new record
Laura Shryock first female 43.21
85 plus male Ron Edwards 1.17.54
80-84 male Leslie Worth 1.25.28
Ian doing his 27th swim in 1hr 15m – legend in our midst !!