Tally Ho

16 May

No, you didn’t miss it. The promised Easter guest blogger deserted her wordpress post suffering acute writer’s block.

No matter though as 2 others out of the 63 Auckland Harbour 10km marathon swimmers penned their thoughts. One, Dan Abel (a guest blobber himself for H2O), was the newd winner in just under 2¾ hours and the other was the grey-haired awgie, Wayne Annan, who also swam the event. Dan claims Wayne already had grey hair when Cyclone Ita arrived immediately before the swim. The writer is unsure as he’s only 43. ‘Lovely chap’ said Kim by the way.

Anyway, truth is, Cookie said she was traumatised by the swim.

Was it the nudity I asked her? Cookie doesn’t own a wetsuit and was one of only 11 newdies. Being the 5th newd laydee home she was in the water for 4½ hours (yes, yes, lucky last, an amazing accolade in my book in every swim). Added to which, they swam past St Helier’s Ladies Bay, a favourite haunt for those Aucklanders wanting to bathe in the buff and full of controversy because the council’s been criticized for inadequate warning signs. Wayne made sure the swimmers were warned though and Cookie said her imagination ran wild in the swim as a result.

It wasn’t her vivid imagination though but the remains of Cyclone Ita that challenged her. It took Cooks 3½ hours (by which time, 2/3rds of the field had already finished) to reach the 6km turning buoy as the swimmers had to contend with Ita’s residual wind and current. The awgies wondered about pulling her out, but she was determined and asked Terry the kayaker to just keep on paddling. Fortunately, the last 4km (in the reverse direction) went by in a flash – just 1 hour. Cooks says she has never dug so deep in her life.

She wouldn’t even contemplate a dip at South Curlie the following week (perhaps not surprising mind you being as she appeared to have brought Ita back across the D’tch with her). She cheered on our swimmers and then sat quietly with me mam and her bestie Marg. Marg plays with the Ukeladies down the South Coast and came up especially to see the Fukers.

Over time, I imagine, Cookie will forget the pain (like childbirth) and contemplate another marathon swim. If she keeps popping across the D’tch for the odd 10km dip, she might even aspire to own Cook Strait – she could be the first Cook across! She wouldn’t be the first to do that as well as the Auckland 10km though. Dan Abel’s crossed the Strait before her as have 80 others who probably haven’t yet conquered the Auckland 10km. Top 10 tally contender and 10km Auckland Harbour swimmer Geoff Carter was determined to be the oldest person across in 2011. “I was at the Chelsea swim (Herne Bay to Chelsea Sugar Works) and a couple of ladies were planning to swim the Cook Strait, and I realised they weren’t that much quicker than I was and I thought – if they could do it, then so could I,” Carter said. Sadly, Geoff had to be pulled out when well over halfway across with hypothermia. The following year, a 60 year old Yank pipped him to the post. But he’s younger than you Geoff! With all the distance you are still swimming, I’m sure that you’ve got it in you yet, if you want to, that is.

Aesop's fable

Aesop’s fable

It’s interesting that a lot of marathon swimmers aren’t actually that fast by comparison with their short distance peers. Just slow and steady. Too many readings of Aesop’s famous fable in their youth perhaps?

This summer just gone, I’ve been fascinated by marathon swimming. Maybe because Gill wants to do the Cott to Rott or maybe because more and more Can Tooers are looking at the longer distances and thinking ‘why not?’.

And before you go off to your boat briefings tonight, lots and lots of luck to Can Tooers swimming South Head Roughwater this weekend – Katie Price (solo), Jacki Alcock (duo) and Mary King (quad).

tallydrvnThis summer, I’ve watched Driven (brilliant), listened to Denise Elder at Can Too (inspirational), chatted as ever with tireless Can Too supporter James Pittar, marveled at Anna Torak’s diet and been spellbound by Sylvain Estadieu’s presentation of his thoughts during his channel crossing – butterfly.

I’m constantly fascinated by Vlad and Charm’s channel swimming charges. Here’s one of this Northern summer’s aspirants Ben @nuttybutnicely.  In my book, you are all bonkers but good luck!

Think of the training, the chaffing, the calories, the cold. The logistics and the waiting.

What makes them keep on? What possesses them to even think it’s a good idea in the first place?

I led a posse of 11 Can Tooers to Byron a fortnight ago and had all these thoughts of Oceans 11 in my head. I was looking for something on line on the topic and stumbled across Oceans 7. I didn’t even know it existed!  Well I’m still only a beginner in this sport as well as being blonde!


Ocean’s Seven from Wikipedia


And that’s partly the point. Never ‘eard of it? That’s right. Most of the world’s never ‘eard of it or these people. Mere mortals can knock off these amazing feats and then continue about their lives in obscurity. Ah yes, that Cyril Baldock, the old bloke next door, he swam the channel once. It’s weird isn’t it?

Petar Stoychev anyone that’s not an open water swimmer and even some of us that are?

Even the tallies contenders are a marvel to me. Plenty of them were in Auckland. Again, not surprisingly as 60% of the top 10 contenders when Paul last published the standings are Kiwis this year. C’mon team New South Wales! Remember your bonding weekend in the Bush! Not sure Jim that Katie’s blog had quite the same sentiment – bit of a killer instinct taking you out in the last KM there!

Paul told a story about the bus trip to the start at Glendowie in Auckland. Wayne and Geoff Carter were wondering out loud who this Nick McCouat fella was coming over from Australia (season leader on 170kms at the end of April) when he tapped them on the shoulder and said g’day. Paul himself has been wondering about him – whether he has a bride and wee bairns abandoned at home every weekend as he flies around our Big Brown Land and over the D’tch looking for yet another swim to add to his tallies. Well Paul, google couldn’t enlighten me, save to say that he’s a robotics engineer! Could he be slightly robotic in nature himself? Is this a criteria for a long distance swimmer?

Whatever drives them, I am in awe. They show us all what’s possible and prove that’s invariably an awful lot more than we think. So I for one plan to get my butt down to Paul’s Organoleptic celebration and shake them by the hand whoever comes out atop in the final wash up on the tallies. In the meantime, tally ho, my friends. May the most supremely natatory of you win a well-deserved beer from a generous and talented brewer oddly named Chuck.

tallypod tallyKP tallyJD

Tally Ho Team NSW!!



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