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Personal accounts


From Nick Draper (@nicksdraper) (mostly)

From Lizzie Crowhurst

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Team 207 (Four and  a Half Women) (l-r): Lizzie Crowhurst, Glenda Hunter-Brittain, Anna Lewis (pregnant), and Kim Cook.

Yesterday, I swam SHRW as part of a team (that's them, above). It was my first time swimming the SHRW even though some of my cobbers have appeared as team Lost at Sea (I, II, and III) for, well... the last 3 years.

To a back-of-the-pack punter like me, it’s a daunting swim. First, there’s the name that belies the likely conditions; then, there’s the distance; the late start in the season and consequent inherently cool surface and water temp; the logistics of boat hire and kayak support; and last, the mental thoughts of the stink pipe, the Gap, and the Noahs.

The dedicated group who run it come over as passionate. As we know, ocean swims are one of the few sports where Olympians and ordinary punters compete on the same terms. At the briefing, John Fallon let swimmers know he and his team are interested in making the extraordinary happen for the ordinary. Their swim is about mateship, a facilitated adventure, not a precision timed competition; the making of heroes who commit to the unthinkable, inspired by the swim.

And so it was for us. Mateship because we were there with our cobbers (as you would say os.c) as well as our boat captain and our towel carriers. And mateship because we were supporting our mate (and more than that for me, as I am his bride) who was swimming solo, notwithstanding a spinal cord injury some 16 months ago, to raise money for Can Too and the incredible folk at Royal Rehab.

To our team’s surprise, we scored the (truly enormous) trophy for the first female team with a time double that of the men’s team that came 2nd last year. So we shared the improvised sand podium with fully funded athletes and masters’ legends like Peter Thiel. A lasting legacy, not just in our fond memory but also because (so I am told), the names of the winning female team are written up on the wall in the men’s toilets at the Watsons Bay Hotel (much to the reminiscent delight of one of our team who recollected that her name hadn’t appeared on the wall of the gent’s toilets for some 30 plus years)!

So, John Fallon, on behalf of team 207 and solo swummer one sucks (my groom had a kiwi boat captain), your swim 100% deserves the accolades os.c gives it. It is indeed one of the few things in life that deserves the appellation, "epic". It absolutely does make the ordinary extraordinary. And what’s more, all being well, we end up at the pub; where better to tell tales and yarns of the feats of ordinary heroes?

Thank you.

You can still find out more and donate to Mark Ellis's fund raising campaign in support of the Royal Rehab and CanToo... Click here


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