I shot up to a predictably sunny, breezy Langebaan on Saturday morning, 31 March to take part in the Around the Island Swim 2012. This brilliant open water swim takes competitors clockwise around Schaapen Island in Langebaan Lagoon.
There were three distances: a 400m swim, a 1.8km swim, and the full 3.2km “Double Mile”. With less than a month to go until my first IronMan, this presented itself as a great training swim, and the perfect opportunity to get some much-needed open-water swimming experience.
Registration was at 09h00 at Pearly’s Restaurant at the main beach. The swim takes place on the weekend of the Langebaan Lagoon Festival, so there was a whole heap of activity down at the beachfront.
The water temperature was reported on a chalkboard to be 15°C which was not too much of a concern as I had entered the wetsuit category — one of the day’s goals was to establish how much chafe I was going to experience in my Orca S3 wetsuit.
A dry start from the beach saw us dash into the water. Being 6′3″ is a definite advantage and I was able to keep out with the front guys in clean water and out of any crowding. We headed straight across to a large yellow buoy moored just short of the island, and turned left to the southern end, into the chop. Most of the other swimmers seemed to be following lines much closer to the island, whilst I felt fairly comfortable that I was taking straighter lines rather than following the curves of the shore.
The back stretch was definitely the hardest section of the swim for me with loads of kelp and rocks just below the surface which was a bit unnerving! Once that was over, we rounded the northern end of the island, headed back to the buoy, and then made a beeline for the finishing banners on the beach.
I finished 20th out of 71 swimmers in a time of 00:50:18. Official results here. I also now know just where my wetsuit chafes my neck!