Posted on Thursday 4th March, 2021

Corals’ First OWS

Congratulations to Corals D’Ott of QNA Noosa Masters on completing her first Open Water Swim in style! Here’s her story: 


After a good first ocean swim (with fins) in the Coolum Beach to Beach earlier in the year, I decided to give the Noosa Summer Swim a try.  I knew the distance of 1km would not be a problem but with no fins and hundreds of people in the water at any one time – all in race mode – I knew I had to just concentrate on plodding along on the side away from trouble.

The day was exceptionally hot at 33c and 95% humidity so standing around in the sun waiting for a noon start was not pleasant.  After her own 3km successful swim Jan still had time for some tips and encouragement which I really appreciated.  So the strategy was just to get to the end in one piece and forget it was supposed to be a race.

It was so divine to finally get in the water and out through the breakers, but because of the bodies and breakers ahead of me after the first white buoy, I could only see one yellow buoy so headed towards it… until I realised it was the 2nd not the first!

I almost had to stand on water to sight the first buoy and change direction.  Got around it no problem but amidst many thrashing arms and legs and that battle continued all the way to the second yellow buoy so just carried on best I could. At the second buoy I realised I had a bit more open water and plenty of energy left and of course had tide on my side so legged it as much as I could back to the beach and even ran up to the finish line, which surprised even me!

Once back there was no one around whom I knew so presumed all had already finished. After a snack and shower headed for the bus and my phone pinged with the results so scrolled down and saw the rest of the Noosa team had done so well.  Then I found out I was the first one home in my category of 70+!

This was such a shock that I waited all day for the phone to ping to say it had all been a mistake. Apparently not, and I have to admit it is a wonderful confidence booster for a first time ocean race.

One gets quite used to just swimming for the sheer joy of it and don’t really have expectations of winning anything – so thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement.

If I was to give any tips for beginners I would say listen to your coach and swimming three times a week seems to have paid off!

The only disappointing aspect was there was not a single photograph of the finish.  My family would have loved that – but obviously too late in the day. Hopefully I can do it all again one day.

Contributed by Corals D’Ott, QNA Noosa Masters