Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jason's big swim...

Thursday 21 February.... after MONTHS of training we headed to Taupo to attempt the big swim. Suddenly it all seemed too close! The weather forecast was not fantastic so we didn't really know when it would actually happen. The earliest was going to be 4am Saturday morning.

Friday was the day to test the boat out, get the rest of our food stores together and for jason to RELAX! I headed out early to get my training done while the others went through the pre-swim preparations. We met with Anna's support crew at about 2pm for a weather check and decided then that the swim was not going to go ahead on Saturday due to adverse weather conditions... so the rest of the day was spent relaxing.

On Saturday the weather forecast for Sunday wasn't much better at all and Anna decided that this weekend was not to be her weekend. She was lucky enough to have the flexibility to come up at short notice when the weather was right for the attempt. Jason was not so lucky. His mum is a shift worker (ED nurse at Wellington Hospital) and I had races in the following weekends so it was really this weekend or not till late March/Early April.

At another weather check late on Saturday it looked as though there may be enough of a break in the weather pattern to give the swim a go... so it was on. Allbeit a bit different to the original plan. Jason was going to swim by himself and do a North to South crossing rather than a SOuth to North. We decided to start at 8am as well rather than 4am (yay so no 2.30 am alarm for us).

So early on Sunday 24 February we set out for Taupo Yacht Club. Anna, Ange and Johnno broke several speeding laws in order to get there to wish Jason good luck before he started his swim. His work mate Thurl spread copious amounts of vaseline on him and his support kayaker Mark was on the neach with him as well. The rest of the support crew was on the boat about 100m from shore... I found this really hard as all I wanted to do was give Jason a really big hug!!!

This is Jason and Mark before the swim start.... don't get fooled by the totally calm looking water... it was like this for about 200m. Then the Northerly kicked in and at times Jason faced a 1.5m swell!!!

Jason is a quietly reflective moment... preparing himself for the swim ahead. Who knows what was going on in his head.

The next 12 hours proved to be a massive roller coaster of emotion for all involved. Jason was a true star... never did I see him falter at all.. there was no comments about pulling out, no talk of giving up at all. He just got in and did what he had to do in less than perfect conditions.

Here is my report from the swim website:

Wow what a day… what can I say. It was a roller coaster of emotions and pain on all fronts.
First things first Jason succesfully completed the cross lake swim (Taupo to Turangi) in 12 hours and 38 minutes. The weather conditions weren’t totally great at all. But he had a tail wind the whole way. This also meant a fair few waves, sometimes up to a metre and a half. The weather was really weird though because at times the lake seemed almost flat!!!

Jason (on the outside) seemed pretty together for most of the day actually and never once did I not believe that he was going to make it. He said that he was in a world of pain though and that the pain travelled round his body. He said that at times his shoulders hurt, then his elbows, next were the knees, then his neck.

6 hours into Jason's swim, I got in to help him along a bit. It was great to be able to do something to help. This is me getting ready to jump in for my first swim with Jason.

This is me trying to get across jason to swim on his left side (I am not swimming totally crooked)...

About 7 - 8 hours into the swim Jason managed to take his Point Zero Three suit off in the middle of the lake and do the “number two” toilet stop that had been building since hour two. Lets just say it was an extreme bio hazard out in the middle of the lake, but Jason said that it was pretty much the most satisfying poo of his life to date. Hmm enough of the toilet stories (but hey, I’m a triathlete so I pretty much tell a toilet story after every session).

At about the same time, John Stobba, decided to paddle in to meet us from the Turangi end. When he did meet us he was a welcome sight and everyone’s spirits were raised immensly.
I swam about four hours with Jason from hour 6 onwards and all I can say is Jason is so amazing!! My body was in pain and I only did a quarter of what he did.

It was so amazing to come into the final stretch and see/hear all the supporters. It was shallow enough for Jason and I to walk the final 100m and everyone on the beach was just cheering him home. It was totally amazing.

Thanks have to go out to:

  • Mark- the best support kayaker in the world. Calm, composed, in control and a totally talented paddler.
  • John - the second best support kayakerin the world, with an uncanny ability to lift everyone’s spirits at just the right moment.
  • Ali- the coach (or sadist hehehe) who though up this idea and the person who totally believed that Jason could do it.
  • Anna- for helping Jason through the many tedious hours of training and for being on the start and finish line- we will try our hardest to get there for your crossing attempt in a few weeks time
  • Ken and Rona- for raising such a great person, keeping calm in the face of adversity and sorting all matters medical amongst so many other things
  • Leza and Melissa- for being fantastic sisters and support crewThurl- for rising to the massive challenges that I set him through the day (including sourcing a replacement boat and motor)
  • Josie and Cassien- for providing me with the much needed ear when I just needed to let it all out when the going got tough for me
  • The Marshall family and Ange for awesome support leading up to and on the day
  • Blossom, Lorrie and Nicci Tom, Megan, Kevin Nicholson, Winnie, Kevin L-S, Rob, Deano, Natalie, Kendal, the Morgans, Hamish McEwen, Janine, Steve and all the many others who text messaged support throughout the day (I apologise if I have left anyone off the list I am a bit jaded right not)…But most of all…
  • THANKS to Jason for gutsing it out. You are a star and you made so many people proud today.

Jason at the end.... a long, harrowing, mentally draining and totally amazing day.

Here is a brief list of what we had in the food box for Jason's swim... and I can assure you that we nearly used all of it!!!!:
  • 44 gels (mix of caffeine and not)
  • 2 tins of balance elite fuel supply drink mix
  • 1 tin of raspberry flavour replace
  • 5 tins of creamed rice
  • 3 packets of natural confectionary company jelly lollies
  • 4 power bars
  • 3 bumper bars (apricot and chocolate)
  • Tea bags, sugar and UHT milk
  • Tomato cup-a-soup
  • Mini choc chip and 100s and 1000s biscuits
  • 1 tin of sustagen
  • No doze tablets
  • Cramp stop spray
  • Salt
  • 8l of cold water
  • 2 one square meal bars
  • Bottle of coke (it will be flat on the day)

No comments: