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Wednesday, 17 August 2022 05:22

August 18, 2022


We don't take you just anywhere.

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A metaphor for the seasons... Just as the sun approaches the equator on its way sarf for spring and summer, so it peeps, just peeps over the horizon at dawn at Bongin Bongin Bay. Image by staff snapper, David Helsham (@glistenrr), who has a way of saying in images what most of us would struggle to articulate in words.

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See below...

What lies beneath

Too much to see

goble sally 400One of the beauties of ocean swimming is that you get to see not just what's around you, but also what's beneath you. Spare a thought for those breaststrokers who swim heads up: they get to see only what's in front of them, above the surface. London's Sally Goble, in the latest in her blog, Postcards from the Pool, muses on some of the stuff they're missing...

canary wharf london 300Honestly, I need a lobotomy.

I envy heads-up breastrokers: their unwetted hair, their sunglasses, their ignorance-is-bliss, their world where everything is as it seems. No wonder they glide along happily chatting and marvelling at the normal world. They are oblivious to what is below.

For me with my head down, wide-eyed-scanning the terrifying world beneath me — my heart beats alarmingly fast.

Canary Wharf. Middle Dock (That's it, at right: oss.c). Saturday. The water is terrifyingly clear.

Here is a graveyard of chairs: I count eight or ten. Some skeletons have all their limbs intact, unnaturally landed upside down, belly-up. Some smashed into pieces, legs scattered like bones. I swim past the waterside bar alongside, imagining obnoxious city boys, too loud, too eager to impress, too many bottles of expensive wine into the night, picking up the furniture and hurling it, laughing uproariously, to its watery final resting place. I shudder.

A hundred metres later on I startle myself with an unexpected underwater ledge of concrete rubble, as though someone has tipped in liquid concrete and it has bubbled and set and come to rest here: ugly and rough; gnarly and pockmarked. Not smooth and contained and well-ordered like the sides of the buildings around. I swim on hurriedly.

Then the worst part. A section of a scaffolding tower lies slumped on the basin floor, lying in a shambles on its side, big enough that it looms closer to the surface than I’d like. I swim over the top of it. Metres long, perfectly intact, gradually being covered by green sludge and algae. Why is it here? How long has it been lying quietly below the surface, unseen? I feel a sense of dread each time I swim over, imagining its life, and death. Once upon a time I imagine it strong and reliable, sturdy and proud, part of a team of scaffolding units that stood erect and built this docklands, with its mad metal and glass edifices. It had capability and strength and purpose. Now it lies here, forgotten and unloved, decaying and useless. Each circuit I do I give it a wider and wider berth. It terrifies me, a reminder of the way of all things.

I wish the water were murkier, or I could do head-up breaststroke.

There is too much to see here.

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Swimmer's shoulder

Just about the only injury a swimmer can get

murphy jerry 200Apart from being dumped in the break, or being thumped by an over-zealous rival whilst rounding a booee, about the only injury that ocean swimmers – indeed, any swimmers – can get from swimming is swimmer's shoulder. Here, physiotherapist and ocean swimmer, Jerry Murphy, a member of Maillot Jaune, takes us through it...

(This article was published previously in our newsletter of July 3, 2018. We figure it's time for a reminder. At the end of the article, there are a series of seven brief videos that physio Jerry Murphy has prepared demonstrating simple exercises to help deal with shoulder injuries in swimmers.)

Q. Which stroke is the most common cause of shoulder problems in swimming?

A. Freestyle. Regardless of the stroke performed in competition, over 50 per cent of swimmers in an elite Australian swim squad perform freestyle in training. As it’s highly repetitious, the shoulder is at risk to overuse and overload injuries. Elite swimmers and those training for distance swims (eg English Channel) can be swimming 50 to 90 km per week.

Q. Prevalence of shoulder pain reported at elite level?

A. Between 40 per cent and 90 per cent.

Q. Why the shoulder?

A. In contrast to most other sports, the shoulder and arm are the principal generator of forward momentum, not the legs.

The anatomy of the shoulder is similar to a golf ball sitting in a golf tee: the humeral head is 4x bigger than the socket (glenoid). Therefore, at any one time and position, there is only 25 per cent of the humeral in contact with the glenoid. Consequently, stability is compromised for greater mobility.

In return for greater mobility, the labrum (cartilage lining of the glenoid) and rotator cuff (four muscles from the scapula) are put under increasing load to stabilise the humeral head in the socket.
Freestyle stroke

The Freestyle stroke is divided into 4 phases --

  1. Hand entry
  2. Pull
  3. Push
  4. Recovery

shoulder diagram 350Q. Which phase causes problems?

A. The recovery phase is where problems can occur in the shoulder. The shoulder is above water in a flexed and internally rotated position.

If the rotator cuff muscles are fatigued they cannot hold the humeral head securely in the socket as the hand enters the water for the next critical phases... hand entry and catch.

The catch position also can present problems to the shoulder if the entry is not correct ie hand first parallel to the water followed by the wrist, elbow and shoulder.

The all important angle of entry will dictate the resistance of water experienced at the shoulder. If entry is too shallow the shoulder will experience a large moment of force as the water provides resistance.

Over a period of time this will cause the rotator cuff to fatigue especially supraspinatus resulting in an impingement.

Swimmers shoulder was coined by Hawkins Kennedy in 1974 for anterior shoulder pain following swim workouts and termed impingement. It has been since found to be just as common in the general public.

G Murrell et al 2008 looked at an elite group of Australian swimmers and found volume was a major cause of supraspinatus tendinopathy, not impingement. The hypothesis was high volume swimmers developed laxity in the joint soft tissues (ligaments and capsule). This laxity caused an unstable joint where the humeral head impinged upwards into the path of the supraspinatus tendon.

Laxity in the shoulder can be divided into two types --

  • The first is genetic, often involving more than one joint in the body having greater flexibility; often referred to as hyper mobility.
  • The second cause is repetitive swimming which can cause the static structures to become more flexible.

Results of the study showed swimmers who swam greater than 35km per week were 4x more likely to have tendinopathy than those who swam less. Laxity levels in the shoulder did not change with increased volumes of swimming when measured.

Take home points to prevent shoulder injury during swimming are –

  1. Watch the volume of kms per week: over 35km will increase the risk of shoulder tendinopathy.
  2. Maintain a strong robust rotator cuff that can tolerate fatigue.
  3. Consider all aspects of the swim cycle from hand entry to recovery.
Video help

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Happy ocean swimming!
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Win back the value of your room...

Mana Fiji prize drawn 

mana fiji logo 19 250With the arrival of August, we've drawn the winner of our prize to win back the value of your room at Mana Island Resort in Fiji: it's Don and Alison Harris, of Ballina.

The prize was drawn from a list of all those who had booked and paid to come with us to the Mana Fijji SwimFest. To be eligible, you had to have made final payments by the end of July.

We'll be refunding Don and Alison the value of their bure for their stay on Mana Island.

There is still time for book for the Mana Fiji SwimFest – three days of ocean swimming events in the pristine waters off Mana Island's North Beach, a location that we know as Ocean Swimming Stadium. The SwimFest will run from September 15-17, 2022, with core travel dates September 13-18.

Mana Island is re-opening at the end of July after being closed for two years due to covid. They're keen to have us all back, and we're keen to be there. The water off Mana Island, off the north-west coast of Fiji's main island, is some of the best ocean swimming water in the world, not just the Pacific (and we've swum in a lot of places over the years). There will be two swim days, with a 10km swim on Thursday, September 15 (solos and relay teams), and events of 5km, 2.5km, 1km, and 500m on Saturday, September 17. Even if you don't feel up to the 10km as a solo, you can do it as a member of a 3 x 3.3km relay team. And if you don't have a team, we'll build one for you.

This year, Mana Island Resort will run the SwimFest events in co-operation with Fiji Swimming. This means the events will have FINA status.

It's a terrific event for anyone wanting to get away from the colder months and the chocolatey water that we're copping along the coast currently, following the rain and floods. It's also possible to use the Mana 10km event as a qualifying event for the Rottnest Channel Swim. This makes it the ideal event for Rotto qualification, in some of the best, friendliest, most interesting water you will ever get.

Our offer to you

Mana Island Resort is offering massive discounts on room rates to those who book through up to 50% off normal rates. We've packaged the core five days together to include your room, swim entries (both swim days), all meals, and return transfers between Nadi International Airport and Mana Island. See our page on for more details (link below).

We have packages online now. Bookings are coming in, so check out the details quick and smart... Click here 

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10km swimmers from the last Mana Fiji SwimFest in October, 2019. Even if you don't wish to tackle 10km, you can still take part as part of the 3x3.3 km relay team. (If you don't have a team, we'll find one for you. )
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Get your View gogs

World's best gogs at world's best prices

V825AWe're continuing our 'never-before' offer of View gogs. The folks at View have adjusted their prices in a small way recently, so we have had to adjust ours correspondingly, but we've kept prices down at sale levels. This keeps them at the world's best value gog (in our experience, which goes on a bit). 

Here are some of our bargains…

  • View Selene Swipes – $36
  • View Wide-eyes Swipes – $36
  • View Wide-eyes Swipe Mirrored – $42.50
  • View Xtreme semi-masks – $37.50
  • Prescription goggles – new Swipe hi-anti-fog models $66.50

Here's the link to order your new gogs. Click now and we'll get them away to you quick and smart… Click here

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Next year's dates up now

Travel to swim in '23

It’s the end of the year, if you’re a finance-type person, or someone who does their tax on time, but we’re planning for calendar ’23. We’re getting ready to restart all those oceanswimsafaris – the Pacific, the Asian archipelago, the Mediterranean – that fell into abeyance with the pandemic. We’re getting them going again in 2023.

What we’re planning is below, but first a warning: we’ve had quite a bit of interest in some of our 2023 oceanswimsafaris, so if you’d like to come with us, let us know your interest. You can hold your spot with an advance deposit (fully refundable when we’ve finalised the package if you’d prefer then not to proceed). More on that lower down… 

What’s new…

What’s new is that we now have dates for 2023 on

What’s on…

June–November, 2023 – We’re going back to Heron Island with three oceanswimsafaris planned between June, October, and November. These have been very popular in 2022. We’re finalising a couple of dates now and will have them up very soon… Click here

french poly 19
Rank-and-file git languishes in the Pacific in French Polynesia. You, too, can swim here.

May, 2023 – We have two oceanswimsafaris to French Polynesia lined up. These have been rolled over annually since the pandemic hit, but we expect to get them away at last in 2023. Both are full right now, but spaces may open up. Check the details and let us know if you’re interested, just in case… Click here

June, 2023 – We’re off to The Philippines to swim with whale sharks, inter alia. We stay on the island of Negros Oriental in a five-star resort, which we use as our base for swims around the area over some of the best coral reef you will ever see, and in some of the clearest water. This location is at the northern end of the Celebes Sea, a region that offers the highest diversity of marine life in the Indo-Pacific. Dates are May 29-June 6… Click here

sulawesi suanne
Very nice water in Sulawesi.

June, 2023 – We’re planning to get back to Sulawesi, the weird-shaped island in the nor’-eastern Indonesian archipelago. This is at the southern end of the Celebes Sea, again in the area of the greatest diversity of marine life in the Indo-Pacific. More glorious coral reef and tropical water, lots of turtles, different Indonesian banquet every night, and some of the most panoramic views you will ever get from a resort room… Click here

July-August, 2023 – Come with us to swim with whales in Tonga. This has proved to be one of our most popular oceanswimsafaris. In recent years, we’ve run three, end to end. In 2023, we have one set of dates ready, to see how we go. We had hoped to visit Tonga again in 2022, but the kingdom is not expected to re-open to international visitors post-pandemic till November, 2022. So next year it is. We spend three days swimming with whales and two days ocean swimming around and between islands in the Vava’u archipelago.  Dates are July 31-August 8, 2023… Click here

san sebastián evening
The end of a big day, San Sebastián.

August, 2023 – Back to Spain! We’re planning on running our San Sebastián oceanswimsafari over the week of August 22-28, anchored by the annual 3km swim around the island of Santa Clara. San Sebastián is one of the ancient world’s most colourful cities. Have you heard of pintxos? Excellent food in San Sebastián, and we make it a focus of our visit there… Click here

sea cave costa brava
One of us in the entrance to a sea cave, Costa Brava.

September, 2023 – And back to the Costa Brava, the wild coastline of Catalonia between Barçelona and the French border. We’ll swim from France to Spain around the end of the Pyrenees, follow the most spectacular coastline in the world, and sample some of the best food and wine you will find anywhere. And we’ll immerse ourselves in the world of Salvador Dalí, who was native to this area. There’s something for everyone on this oceanswimsafari, whether or no you’re a swimmer. Dates September 6-14 (TBC)… Click here

September/October, 2023 – We are off to Mana Fiji this year, September 13-18, 2022, for the return of the Mana Fiji SwimFest — a five-day carnival anchored around a 10km (solos or 3 x 3.3km relay) swim on the Thursday, and a choice of 5km, 2.5km, or 1km on the Saturday. Mana’s North Beach is Ocean Swimming Stadium of the Pacific, one of the best stretches of water in which you’ll ever do a swim event. Dates TBC for 2023. But you don’t need to wait that long: come with us in 2022… Click here


sporades yacht
We sail around the Northern Sporades, in the wake of Jason and his Argonauts.

We can also take small groups of 6-8 people to swim around Greece's Northern Sporades islands, location of the movie, Mama Mia. If you're interested, give us a yell... Click here

Lots on offer; lots to do; lots of swimming in some of the world’s most beautiful water.

You can reserve your place with an advance deposit of $500 per head. When we finalise the packages for each trip, we’ll give you the option of accepting or declining. If you don’t wish to proceed, we’ll refund your advance deposit in full. But in the meantime, you will have your space set aside.

See for more.

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heron 1410
Not a bad joint for a swim.

2022 Heron Island

Dates open for Oct, Nov

Our Heron Island oceanswimsafaris have been heavily booked. We've had some terrific groups come with us so far this year, although the weather has not always been at its best. We're looking forward to tip top conditions in October and November. This time of year traditionally has produced ideal swim and tropical holiday conditions.

October dates are October 19-24. November dates are November 6-11.

Best get in quick and smart. It would be good to have you with us.

We'll be ready soon to take bookings for our 2023 Heron Island dates –

  • June 14-19
  • October 11-16
  • November 8-13

Find out more and book… Click here

heron 220428 stars 600
Starry, starry night, Heron Island, late April. Absolute rubbish joint.

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New model Swipes

Prescription gogs now in Swipes

vc510 swipe lens 370Big news from View: our very popular prescription goggles now also come with high-anti-fog Swipe technology.

Our Swipes, so far in both Selene and Wide-Eyes versions, have been a big hit, offering what View (the makers) describe as 10 times the anti-fog capacity of other gogs. We've been using them for almost two years now, and we know that it works. We've sold over 1,000 pairs of Swipe gogs since their release just prior to Xmas 2019, so many of you must agree, too.

Now the Platina prescription goggles come in Swipe versions, too. Lenses come in strengths ranging from -1.0 to -10.0, and +1.5 to +6.0, and you can have different strengths in each eye. Just select the strengths you want when you order your gogs online.

View's new Swipe prescription gogs are available at $66.50 a full pair, which is cheap compared with how you will pay at a spectacles shop.

Be aware: View is phasing out the old versions of prescription goggles, currently selling for $A57.85. Some lens strengths are no longer available, and strengths will not be replaced as they run out. Your alternative is to order the new Swipe Optical goggles, which offer 10 times the anti-fog capacity of the older versions.

You can order your new Swipe Optical (prescription) gogs online now… Click here

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Last modified on Wednesday, 17 August 2022 11:30
Paul Ellercamp

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