Taking on Rotto – Annette Jamieson

An incredible story of fearlessness and determination to achieve an incredible personal goal from our very own super fish, Annette Jamieson…

On Sat 22nd March I swam 20km from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest in 6hr 8min. 

Friday 21st, the day prior, I spent staring across the big blue ocean to the tiny spec of an Island wondering why I ever thought this was a good idea. On this day I decided I needed new friends – ones that create roadblocks not support. In crept self-doubt and a healthy fear of what lay beneath but I knew I’d toe the start line the next morning so it was then a question of how. How painful will this be? Which part of my body will go first – my shoulder or lower back? Or will it be my mind?

I had a race plan, however I’m impatient and struggle to constrain impulse – not helpful over 20km. An early bust would mean hours of torture and tears, neither of which I was prepared to endure. The whole family were invested and there was no turning back. l told myself the same thing I’d tell my kids (and perhaps the Friday am swim squad) – “pull your head in and get it done”. 

And with that I completed an absolutely epic swim. I pushed my mental and physical limits and now get to hold tight the intense feeling of pride at having endured the swim, pushed through the pain and completed the event in a very respectable time. 

As it turns out the stingers got my legs and face and I fell apart piece by piece – shoulders, back, wrists, elbows and fingers (who’d have thought) and by this point I got a little angry.  The last few kms were brutal, each stroke felt like I was pulling through sand. I’m still puzzled when I see any solo swimmer who smiles or raises a shoulder for a fist pump across the finish line. An impossible task. 

I reflect now more on the underwater haven, the comfort of seeing the seabed the entire swim and most importantly the smiles of my family and paddler who supported me the whole way.  Brave Luke jumped in mid-way to accompany me and I watched his every stroke – he glowed. Hannah my cheerleader and master of my feeds who was preparing my celebration party (with pinata) before I’d even finished. And not least, Mark for being calm in the face of my nerves and complete distraction and holding everything together (including my social media and my anxious mother).

I don’t need new friends – less extreme goals, perhaps, but not new friends. Both my friends and family enabled me to challenge myself and achieve. My mates who trained lap after lap with me (especially Steve / Colleen / Justine), those who sent me messages, gave me advice, watched my tracker (at the BOB!) and supported the children’s charity I raised funds for.  Brett and crew who were in Perth who helped me laugh off the shark stories and have a blast. I could not have done it without these people. Thank you xx. 

Well done Annette Jamieson on your incredible journey from all of us at Drummoyne Swim Club. An absolutely smashing achievement!

If anyone is keen to do this challenge in the future, please see Annette who can give you her training tips! 😉

The photos include; with Steve Williams who also swam solo, the feeds and the view from Cottesloe.