Thursday, October 11, 2018

16 km Solo Swim Around Pulau Perhentian Besar on 6 October 2018

Always with my wife
A RELIEF
It was a big relief for us that no serious safety incident took place. No injuries from propellers, no heart attacks etc. just a few jelly fish stings, which is nothing.
I guess the standby ambulance, standby speedboat, various safety gadgets in each boat were all not used. These items increases the entry fee, but we need to have these safety precautions in place. If there was a serious safety incident, this event and Open Water Swimming  in Malaysia might come to a halt.

Privately, I was so happy that Malaysia has pulled this off. We probably only started Open Water Swimming seriously in 2016 and its only the second year that Perhentian has this event. This is the longest Open Water Swimming event in South East Asia and we pulled it off. Just marvelous.

Big increase in swimmers from 2017
107 solo swimmers took part in the 4 km, whilst 24 solo swimmers (15 males and 9 females) and 40 duos or quad swimmers took part in the 16 km circumnavigation swim of Pulau Perhentian Besar. So there was a total of 171 swimmers this year, a big increase from 2017 especially in international participants.
 
The 24 solo starters for the 16 km is a good increase from last year's 15 starters. Its difficult to get huge solo numbers for a long distance swim event. For example the long running Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim (15 km) that also took place on 6 October 2018, only had 10 starters for the solo swim but huge numbers for the relays. 
 
Only 17 (71%) swimmers (10 males and 7 females) finished the Perhentian 16 km this year versus 11 swimmers (73%) in 2017. What was mind boggling was that, only one Malaysian Male (myself) and one Malaysian Female (Jessie), finished in 2018. Jessie was outstanding being Champion Female and Second Overall to Jose, whilst I was last male finisher.
 
 
The build up (behind the scenes)
Preparations started shortly after last year's 16 September event. The Organisers decided that the event would be held on the first weekend of October as this was the earliest possible date to get the huge number of boats required. Actually the date for 2019  has been confirmed, 5 October 2019. Perhentian will always be on the first weekend of October.
 
Suggestions came thick and fast from the enthusiastic Perhentian WhatsApp group that Amir created. To his credit, he considers all suggestions made. Registration opened months ahead. The same lifeguards (Aquaputra Putrjaya), medics (EMS) and timekeepers that Swimon uses for its events were retained. The members of the Organising Committee are essentially the same from event to event. Many attended FINA and lifesaving courses at their own expense.
 
By the time of the Perhentian event, the Committee and support teams were familiar with each other and had acquired much expertise in open water swimming. As 6 October neared, more suggestions came thick and fast.
 
So I would say on 6 October 2018, everything went quite smoothly. Though we were all very stressed as many things could still go wrong unexpectedly, for example, the weather.
 
 
5 Oct 2018 (the day before)
For me and my wife, living close to the secondary Subang Airport, it was incredibly convenient. We could wake up at our usual morning time, breeze through Subang and Kota Baru Airports, take a Grab to Besut Jetty  and use the boat company (Safe Park) recommended by Swimon. Safe Park is RM 10 off the usual rate per person, each way and they seem to have the most boats. My wife and I were on Perhentian by 12.30 p.m., quite incredible.
Its so nice to be back here
For those coming from Singapore for example, its much more stressful. They have to take two flights with a transit in KL, but it is still possible to get to Perhentian by say 3.30 p.m.

Race briefing, race pack collection and Buffet Dinner for 16 km participants was at 6 p.m. at Perhentian Island ResortFor 2019, PIR will be the central Hotel for the race on 5 October.

Luckily I had proof read the Race Book in detail for Amir. So when he told me to do the briefing, I was able to do it with assistance from Amir, Yoshi and Philip. Yoshi and Philip held the loud hailer whilst I flipped through the pages of the Race Book. In 2019, we hope to do a better briefing with microphones etc. For me, it was wonderful to see many new faces from overseas and they were actually quite OK to me.

But on the eve of the Race, we the organisers were still very worried how race day would turn out.


6 Oct 2018 (before the start)
The weather was fine, a relief.
To be frank the morning was chaotic (I guess we have to improve this part). 4km and 16km swimmers met in front of the REEF Hotel. The Thai Restaurant right beside the REEF Hotel gave some swimmers (including me) a big bag of ice for free, what luck. This particular restaurant served the best food of all the eating spots. But they were about to close the business down.

Philip took charge and gave a short briefing. Thong led the warm up. The boats were late as they could only start moving  from the mainland after sun rise. When they did arrive, everyone rushed on the small Barat Jetty which looked like it was going to sink (this part where swimmers and boatmen meet, we have to improve). I had the same boat as in 2017, so I had no problems.


THE ACTUAL SWIM
Solos, Duos and Team Quads started at the same time at 8.30 a.m. There were about 40 swimmers.

We met the boats at the 1 km point. I was quite concerned about this meeting point as last year it was chaotic. But surprisingly it was quite orderly. The boats were lined up in a smart line on the outside, whilst the swimmers swam on the inside close to the island. I also didn't smell any fumes this year.
I think the matching of swimmers with their respective boats went quite well, we were off.

Until 4 km - quite flat
It only started to get choppy at the first big left corner. Last year the 4.5km ended at the beach nearby and it was also choppy. Many boats and swimmers went closely around the corner and continued to hog the coastline. I feel this was a mistake as one should actually swim from "corner to corner" in a straight line to get the shortest distance. The disadvantage of this strategy was that the sea was much more choppy the further one gets from the shore.

It was at this corner that swimmers started to spread out and the sea became choppy all the way until the last big corner at about 12.5km.

4 km to 12.5 km - choppy
From 4km right until the last big corner at about 12.5km, it was choppy. Not super choppy like in 2016, but it was choppy. Some boatmen advised their swimmers to hog the coastline where it was less choppy. But I preferred to take the shortest straight line between two corners.

I sort of know from experience, that in choppy conditions, the energy expended by the swimmer still has to remain constant. If a swimmer was to fight the waves, the swimmer will run out of energy very quickly.

Slower swimmers will not be able to progress forward during this choppy part. They might be swimming on the spot or even go backwards. So the slow swimmers will stop here.

For fast pool swimmers who are new to long distance sea swims. They will be wondering why they are not moving. The bobbing up and down will also be a new sensation and it goes on without letting up for hours. If one is not careful, negative thoughts will overpower the swimmer and they will stop.

The drop out rate for solo swimmers was about 30%, same as in 2017. A 16 km swim in the deep blue sea is not for fun swimmers. I think a swimmer needs to be able to swim 6km in about 2 hours in the pool, otherwise they won't make the cut off.

Even some duo and quad  teams could not make the cut off. Slow swimmers won't be able to progress forward when the sea is choppy.

Any jelly fish or painful planktons?
Only a little. I did see ONE monster jelly fish, but over 16 km this was nothing. I did see many baby jelly fishes. I'm not sure if I did get stung. There were no painful planktons unlike last year. So overall I would say, conditions were very good.

Was the sea crystal clear?
No, unlike in previous years. The sea was of course clean and crystal but the colourful schools of fishes and beautiful underwater rock formations were missing, for me anyway.

12.5 km to the finish
After the last big corner, one could actually see the big mosque on Pulau Perhentian Kecil. This big mosque became the new target. Also, the choppy waters stopped. The sea became quite calm.

I swam beside Emily the whole stretch.

It became a bit confusing once we entered the finishing Bay (Teluk Pauh) due to the presence of other boats and various buoys (we will improve this part next year), but we weren't rushing and just did whatever the escort kayaks took us.

So I finished side by side with Emily in 6 hours 41 mins (one hour slower than last year but 20 mins faster than in 2016).
Job done. Thank you
No complaints, a finish is a finish. I was so, so tired. During the prize giving, I was dozing off in my wooden chair. Its always great to hear the 4 km swimmers still with much energy cheering everyone. I think the 16 km swimmers were very subdued.
I was last male finisher, the only Malaysian male finisher, the oldest
 
 SOME OUTSANDING PERFORMANCES
 
Jessie Wong
Female Champion in a course record of 4:51, beating a strong international field. She was the second individual overall and the only Malaysian female to finish. The most incredible performance by a Malaysian amateur swimmer I have seen. 
Jessie and Sumai

Jose Lois Larossa 
Jose came to our shores in 2016 and the sport has progressed leaps and bounds.
With good swimmers, it looks like they are breathing below the water level
Male Champion in a new course record time of 4:07, even more incredible when we consider that last year was not as choppy. Jose was first overall beating even the very strong relay teams. What a performance.
First Overall
 
Kevin Yeap
We are honoured to have the 2017 SEA Games' Gold Medalist in the 10 km Open Water Swim, participating in our event. Partnering his girlfriend, who I understand is also a National swimmer, this very lovely couple easily won the Mixed Duos.
  
Limited Media Coverage
The event was immediately reported by the  Daily News / Open Water Swimming. Thank you Mr Steven Munatones. Unfortunately there was no coverage in the local media.
 
 
Was the event a success?
Oh YES. Definitely a YES.

From the Organiser's point of view, we were relieved that there was no serious safety incident. The ambulance team that came from KL, the dedicated speedboat on standby were not required.
The many boat propellers, didn't endanger the swimmers this time due to the lengthy briefing with the boat men. The personal safety buoys that was made compulsory, is key for the safety of swimmers.

I just knew that the event went very well. I asked many foreign swimmers and absolutely all were very happy and the general consensus was that the event went perfectly ("perfecto"). They will all come back and bring their friends. We knew we nailed it by everyone's good mood during prize giving.


POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS
We are already discussing them.
  1. Lets go back to calling the event "16km Swim Around Perhentian Island". The word "Challenge" is used for too many silly things.
  2. We could do with a briefing for the 4km swimmers on 4 Oct 2019.
  3. Boats at 1 km could be arranged in sequence of Bib No. Easier for swimmers to find their boats.
  4. Bib nos could be by seeding to reduce crossing of boats at 1 km.
  5. 16 km start to be later at 9 a.m. so that there is more time for swimmers to meet their boatmen and to reduce the congestion on the Barat Jetty.
  6. The 16 km finishing chute to be clearer.
  7. Race briefing to have proper microphone, room etc (not sure if possible).
  8. Race briefing slides to be prepared. Oops that's me.
  9. Local media coverage would be nice.
  10. All boats must have ladders.

And of course, the good things we are already doing have to be maintained. Can't rest on one's laurels.
 

2019
The date for all future events has been set for the first Saturday of October. So for 2019, the event will be on 5 October 2019. The Perhentian Island Resort will be the central hotel.


Finally, the all important Organising Committee
The main regular members are:
  1. Amir. Race Director and sole owner of event
  2. Sumai. Chief Secretariat (all rounder, does everything)
  3. Cherish Chin. Chief Safety Officer and all rounder.
  4. Yoshi. Course Officer, Lifeguard. His wife is one of the competent photographers.
  5. Philip Tan. Chief Referee. Swimmer, Surf Life Saver etc
  6. Julia and Azizul (very helpful all rounders)
  7. Afiq. Timekeeper, Referee
  8. Many others, even Tip, Joey helps out
That Open Water Swimming has a future and has been progressing steadily in Malaysia, is  due to having a competent Organising Committee. With each event, they keep on improving bit by bit. They work well together and they work selflessly.

Many have attended FINA Courses. Many officiated at the Asian Open Water Swimming Championships and SEA Games in 2017. Many are Life Savers, swimmers or swimming instructors.

Its because of this Committee, we are able to enjoy safe Open Water Swimming events in Malaysia. So THANK YOU.


An international crowd
Swimmers travelled from Austria (Babara, 2nd Female), New Zealand (Alessandra Cima, 5th Female, English Channel swimmer), Australia (Liz Pinches etc), Spain (Raquel, 3rd Female and others), Korea (Yang, 9th Male) and many from Singapore (Claire, Derek, Alvin Neo, Paul Agaytant and the very many teams). We know it couldn't have been easy getting to the island.


Thank you to all swimmers for taking part, See you all at Perhentian on 5 October 2019.




 
 
 

Friday, September 21, 2018

12km Inaugural Putrajaya Core Island Swim (1 Sep 2018)

Putrajaya - background
Putrajaya is the Federal Administrative centre of Malaysia, meaning all Federal Government offices have recently relocated there.
Many beautiful buildings at Putrajaya
It is a specially planned city, built from scratch, the construction of which started less than 20 years ago. It is a super beautiful city, I should think one of the most beautiful in the world. There are many beautiful buildings, mosques, bridges, wide roads and a Lake. In this Lake is a "Core Island" which has many buildings of its own. The distance around the island is less than 11 km, but because we started and finished at the Kelab Tasik Putrajaya, the swim distance came to about 12 km. Kelab Tasik Putrajaya itself is a kayaking / SUP centre. It also has a gym and a restaurant with a view of the Lake. Lately, Swimon has been having its swim series there.


History of OWS at Putrajaya Lake
The famous Malaysian English Channel swimmer, Datuk Abdul Malik Mydin had more than ten years ago, swam around the Core Island. No one else has done the swim or been given permission, until us on 1 Sep 2018.

Currently PPJ and Swimon are both very keen to hold more OWS events at the Lake. The intention is to make the Putrajaya Lake a top OWS destination (very possible, I think).
 
A little bit further away is  Precint 6's Water Sports Centre, where the Oceanman, SEA Games, Asian OWS Championships etc have been held. Then there have been international triathlons and duathlons held at Putrajaya.
 
During weekends, the office complex becomes a ghost town as there are no shops. So that's when KL residents come over to cycle, run, kayak or swim in the many pools at Putrajaya.

The Core Island swim that we did on 1 Sep was so amazingly beautiful and safe that I feel Putrajaya Lake, is going to be the new hotbed for OWS in Malaysia.


The Organisation behind the swim
We all know, Swimon (Amir) is the organizer. He is "a kampong boy from Terengganu" but has to-date organized many successful and safe swimming events all over Malaysia. I have watched him grown from strength to strength in the swimming world but he has always remained humble. He always listens to suggestions by swimmers, has never gotten angry with anyone and gets along well with all members of his organising team. In turn, his team (mostly women) are happy to follow him wherever he goes. I really wish him every success because that would mean swimmers would have more swims to participate in.

The future of Open Water Swimming in Malaysia. A very competent Crew.
The ten participants were specially selected by Amir, all well known to him and to each other, and all have swam in a 10 km event.

To support the ten swimmers was a crew of about 30 skilled people, comprising one kayaker per swimmer, 3 medical personnel and an ambulance, lifeguards (Aquaputra Putrajaya), Marine Police, PPJ personnel, 3 support boats and a super capable Organising Committee (Amir, Julia, Cherish and Afiq) etc.

Its important that the sport of Open Water Swimming has these events, even small ones as it develops the skills of everyone involved. I feel that with the many events that Amir has organized in 2018, the sport is moving along very well. Baring a tragic incident happening, we all can look forward to more OWS events.

Informal support was also provided by three top photographers, PPJ staff and swimmers' family members (my wife, Joey, little Elysa etc).

After the swim there was a nice lunch / prize giving at the Kelab graced by Dato' Omairi Bin Hj Hashim from PPJ. This was the first time ever, since participating in about 200 events, that I  received a framed certificate. Such an incredible gesture, we were made to feel so important. Thank you Organiser.
Doc Fauzi Othman came to see us off
Before the start
The atmosphere was very relaxed. We knew each other very well. The bantering had started weeks earlier in our WhatsApp group.
Bob, my outstanding kayaker
Swimmers were introduced to their respective kayaker. Amir, Afiq (Chief Referee) and Cherish (Chief Safety Officer) all gave their briefings.  Everything was very professional, we even wore electronic timing bracelets.

Swimmers and crew before the start
The actual swim
Swimmers about to start
The swim started at 7.58 a.m. We swam anti clockwise. Very quickly the swim packs were set. Serge Dominichini was way out in front on his own. Then there was a group comprising Sabki, Emily, Claire and myself. The others came behind swimming on their own, I understand.

Swim conditions
Conditions were actually perfect. It was cloudy for a good few hours. There was no wind or waves for almost the whole way. No jelly fish of course. Some swimmers reported seeing fishes and even a large monitor lizard in the Lake.
For me, the water was clean, no complaints.

The first 9 km
I found myself at the back of my group (fifth overall). There seemed to be a large number of kayaks, observers and swimmers with their safety buoys in front of me. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I was doing so poorly. Try as I might, I couldn't narrow the gap to Sabki, the one armed swimmer. I was in awe of him.
Close together for 9 km

For a good 9km, Sabki was close by
Mentally, I was starting to come up with my excuses. My arms and shoulders were so painful, there seemed to be nothing left in them. The good thing going for me was that I was regularly taking my quick breaks for nutrition and my legs were fresh. 

Always close to my kayaker, Bob

My beloved kayaker (Bob) told me that Serge was so far ahead that he was about to finish. I was in fourth place overall by now, but one of the swimmers in front had not been taking his nutrition breaks. I decided it was all or nothing right at that moment with 3km to go. My legs had not been used, so I kicked for all I was worth. Previously, I seldom utilized my kick as I didn't think it helped.
Overhead shots by Fiz Said
 The last 3 km
Once I  decided it was all or nothing, I found myself in joint second with Emily. Her strokes were fast and firm. No way I could take her, I thought.
But Bob was probably the best kayak escort on duty. He was always on my breathing side (my left) and deviced his own hand signals which I could understand.
Slugging it out with Emily
 
Finishing soon
 I only needed to look at my kayaker the last 3 km rather than looking ahead which is very tiring. Emily is close he signaled. Emily is very close, he kept on signaling.
I realized Emily kayaker's had gone off course. So I got lucky and was able to get clear of Emily only in the last 100m.
Last few meters

Job done, just
 Overall
I found the whole swim to be stressful due to the close proximity of other swimmers. The route was beautiful but I didn't give it one look as I was trying to keep up with the other swimmers. I was so surprised at around 9 km, I was finally able to overtake Sabki, quite easily actually.
Then it was a neck and neck fight with Emily. So exciting, it felt like our own little Olympics.


Many positives
Definitely one of the best sporting events I have ever participated the last 34 years.
  1. We were made to feel special. Only ten participants.
  2. A full support crew (30 people) to support us.
  3. A historic event. Not easy to get permission to swim around the island.
  4. Beautiful scenery.
  5. Clean water. Whilst the water  was pitch black, I felt that the water was quite clean. No e-coli. After the swim, our bodies were not sticky like after a sea swim.
  6. No jelly fish.
  7. Close proximity to our respective homes. No need to take flights, book hotels etc.
  8. Wonderful prize giving lunch.
  9. All of us receiving a framed certificate was a wonderful gesture.
  10. Many top quality pictures and videos available for free. Perfect for our memories.
Its all about the Crew and we have it

Trophies for all swimmers

Framed certificates for all. Thank you Datuk

The swimmers


Swimmers' Testimonials
Amir (Organiser):
"Not sure I can repeat this. Maybe it was my sweetest memory of a swim event ever".

Serge (Champion):
"I feel the same about it - great event and very scenic swim. Almost no animals, except for a big monitor lizard".


Finally
Wonderful event Amir, Cherish, Afiq, Julia, PPJ, Polis, Medical, Photographers, fellow swimmers and family members.

THANK YOU




 

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Bali 10 km Charity Swim on 1 July 2018

This was  my fourth consecutive year,  doing this Charity swim. My blog Reports for the earlier swims were 2017, 2016 and 2015.
 

The effect of  Mt Agung
This time, a local volcano (Mt. Agung) added to the excitement. On Friday (29th June), Bali Denpasar Airport was actually closed from about 3 a.m. to around 5 p.m. This meant that about ten swimmers (out of twenty) that had paid for the 10 km were unable to participate. Our inbound flight was on Saturday, so we only experienced flight delays, but no cancellations. I feel terrible for a close friend of mine, who had to cancel everything after looking forward to the swim for such a long time.
 
I felt that the Kuta sky was a bit darker than normal. The famed sunset went missing and the sea was a bit murkier on race day.
 
After the swim, we departed Bali on Tuesday at around 3 p.m. But by 9 p.m., Mt Agung was spewing lava again, this time the airport was not closed.
 
So I guess we were very lucky, that we were able to get in, swim and get out.
 
 
Background Info - Bali Ocean Swim
1 July 2018 was the ninth consecutive year of the Bali Ocean Swim. It is a real Charity swim event. The entry fee is high (USD 100 for 10 km) but proceeds goes to the BSF (Bali Sports Foundation), Kuta Baliwista (Kuta Lifeguards), young swimmers, the handicapped etc.
 
One gets a "good feeling" participating as there are many special needs / handicapped youngsters attending to us during the Registration process. During each of the four years I participated, I made special donations to the BSF and / or Kuta Baliwista.
 
The lifeguards are very professional, humble and nice people. They organize the swim course every year and being Lifeguards, take the safety of swimmers very seriously. Every year I would have at least one kayak shadowing me for the latter part of the race. The event is even safe for handicapped swimmers.

The Head Lifeguard, Kuta Baliwista. A wonderful chap.
The downside to this event is that there are no Finisher's medals or T shirts. 10 km Finishers only get a towel and certificate. I have four of these towels now.

At another Charity swim event, Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim at Hong Kong, there are no mementoes at all for participants, unless you win. I guess Charity swims try to minimize costs.
 
At Bali, there are no age-groups for the 10km, its only Men's Open and Women's Open. The Champion gets a small Plaque, whilst Second and Third gets a cheap looking medal.
 
 
Race Registration
Registration for the Race can be done by bank transfer before the event. However, there is a better alternative. where Registration / payment can be done at the Reception of the official hotel Bali Garden Beach Resort by 5 p.m. the day before the event. You must pay in CASH (eg USD 100 cash for 10 km).
Registration / Payment can even be done on race morning in cash.
Race registration. All volunteers at the counter are in wheelchairs, a real Charity event.
Race Morning
Reporting counters open at 6.30 a.m.
Registration / Payment can even be done on race morning if you haven't done so.
Body marking starts at about 7 a.m.
At 8 a.m. you need to give your special needs (if any) to the boat men.
8.30 a.m. is race briefing.
9 a.m. the 10 km starts.
The 5 km and 1.2 km races starts shortly later.
 

Course Background
The sea temperature is about 26 degrees, which is quite  cool initially, but perfect for swimming. The water is murky ( I immediately crashed into Simon at the start as I couldn't see anything). Somehow nothing comes close to the islands off Terengganu when it comes to water clarity.

I didn't see any jelly fishes in all my four years at Bali. It's a safe beach (no rocks) and popular with new surfers. In 2018, the water close to the beach was positively black and oily, probably from the many fishing boats close to the shore.
 
The safety float is not allowed at Bali but this is ok as very competent Lifeguards are everywhere.
 
The course is roughly four laps of about 2.5 km. Buoys are about 250m in a perfectly straight line. Swimmers should always aim for the next buoy and they will swim in a straight line. The turnaround points though are actually flags (a bit difficult to see compared to the much larger buoys).
 
There are no specific rules on swimwear.
 
 
MY ACTUAL SWIM
Eleven swimmers (7 males and 4 females) started the 10 km (twenty names had registered).
10 of the 11 swimmers that started the 10km. The overall winner was behind the gantry. 2nd overall, Jamie Bowler is far left.
I started right at the back and after the initial warm up settled into seventh position all the way to the finish.. There was a lady swimmer just in front of me but I just couldn't bridge the gap. Even at the finish, my usually reliable finishing kick couldn't reel her in. So well done to Dutch Lady, Adrienne Plaisier. It was her first 10 km swim event.
 
In long distance swimming, I think one can only go at the same constant speed the whole way. So once you are settled into your position, that would be it, right until the end.
 
I used two GPS watches (Garmin 920XT and 735XT) and realized at the first turnaround that the course was over distance. My speed was also slower than the previous year, so no PB.
Job done
The turnaround marker at 5km / 9.9 km is a fishing boat with a flag, rather than the usual huge buoy. I had trouble sighting this flag as there were other fishing boats nearby. I made a rookie mistake and headed for the wrong fishing boat. Adrianne headed for the right boat, so I couldn't catch her. My mistake.

Another watch (920XT) had it as 11.2 km
In the end, I was fourth male (just missing the podium for the first time in Bali) and seventh overall out of eleven swimmers. 

I was 7th Overall. 4th Male
All swimmers finished, which is great. Bali actually attracts very fast swimmers to its event every year. For example in 2015, I was dead last. It would be interesting to see how our Jose would fare against the best that came.
1st Women, Jamie Bowler, a regular participant and sometime first Overall.
 The Pros
  • The race location (Kuta Beach) is only about 3 km from the Airport. At many other events, getting to the nearest Airport is only the start of the battle.
  • There are many hotels at Kuta Beach, really many hotels. The swimmer can have breakfast at their own hotel and still won't be late. After the swim, the swimmer can walk back to their  hotel to shower off.
  • Very competent Lifeguards on duty. The course is set out by the same professional Lifeguards (Kuta Baliwista) every year. At many events, the course is marshalled by ordinary kayakers who are not real Lifeguards, but not at Bali.
  • Not seriously choppy. Cool sea water temperature. Support kayaks everywhere with drinking water available.
 
The Cons
  • Unfortunately there's no Finisher's Medals or an event T shirt. Even the podium winners only receive cheap looking medals. So I don't think spoilt Malaysians will come to this event in droves.
  • The cost. Bali is an expensive holiday destination. Hotel food and taxis, the prices are astronomical.


Conclusion
I will return in 2019, inshallah.
I go to all events with my wife. Thank you.
Thank you
8 July 2018
 
 
 
 


Sunday, June 03, 2018

Kelab Tasik Putrajaya 13 May 2018 (3.8 km)

The Kelab Tasik Putrajaya MOWS on 13 May 2018, was the second in a series of races organized by Swimon for 2018.
Swimon, apart from organising many swim races  (see below for list of their races in 2018), also regularly organizes Open Water training sessions at Port Dickson for adults and kids and semi formal (not races) swim events.
Swimon working with Aquaputra, Emergency Medical Services etc  help develop competent lifesavers and medical teams for Open Water Swimming in Malaysia.    
Swimon also helps in developing a team of volunteers / officials to become competent in all aspects of open water swimming (eg. registration, timing, swim course management etc). Many of the volunteers at Swimon events also attend courses organized by FINA / ASUM and officiate at the highest levels (eg SEA Games, Asian Open Water Swimming Championships etc.)
With each event, these dedicated volunteers become more and more competent. The sport of Open Water Swimming benefits. So I would say Swimon and its team are doing a grand job in promoting the sport.
 
I urge all swimmers to support Open Water Swimming in Malaysia. Please wear your safety float when swimming in open water at all times. Thank you
 
MOWS 2018 and other events by Swimon
  1. 1st Leg. 4 Feb 2018 at P.D. Sold out and Completed
  2. 2nd Leg. 13 May 2018 at Kelab Tasik Putrajaya. Sold out and completed.
  3. 23 June 2018. Saturday, 5 p.m. at P.D. Renang and Rendang. OWS clinic and training. Registration still not opened.
  4. 3rd Leg. 1 July 2018 at Port Dickson. Event info. But I think Registration is closed.
  5. Tentatively 28 July 2018. Informal 10km swim around Putrajaya. Details still not out. Participation by invitation only.
  6. 12 Aug 2018. Bukit Merah Lake. Still to be confirmed.
  7. 31 Aug. Merdeka Night Swim at Putrajaya. Details still not out.
  8. 6 Oct 2018. Around Pulau Perhentian Besar. 16km (solo, teams of two or four), and 4 km. Registration for the 16km solo, duo, team is officially closed. But please contact Swimon if you are keen to participate. Registration for the 4km is OPEN.  
  9. 4 Nov 2018. Finale. Putrajaya Swimfest.
 
Other Swim Races
  • The very successful  Kapas Marang 6.5km, organized by Triathlon Malaysia was  held on 22 April 2018.
  • Labuan 5.4 km was held on 28 April 2018 (which I didn't go).
  • The APMG Penang Cross Channel Torch Swim is on 2 Sep 2018, please follow the Penang OWS Facebook page).
  • Oceanman Krabi is on 14 Oct 2018. This will be incredible. Registration is open.
  • Oceanman World Championship will be at Dubai on 16 Nov 2018. Details still not out.
  • Thailand Swimathon will be on the weekend of 8/9 Dec 2018 at Pattaya. Registration is normally through "runlah", I think still not open.
I'm definitely going to attempt the circumnavigation of beautiful Pulau Redang again in 2018. So 2018, will be a full year for swimming.
 
Kelab Tasik Putrajaya 13 May 2018
I'm beginning to like swimming at Putrajaya Lake more and more now. The water is pitch black and was very off putting initially. But it is safe for swimming and I didn't feel any irritation at all after the swim or have any salty feeling.
Putrajaya is also only 30 minutes from where I live, very convenient.
 
The distances competed for were 300m for kids and 1.9 km or 3.8 km for adults. Kids and adults were sub divided into age groups. So many participants got two medals (one for finishing and one for podium).
My buddy. Fauzi Othman
Everything went quite smoothly and there was no sun.
 
Well done to the Organising Team
Largely it was the same organizing team as for the 1st Leg (P.D. 4 Feb 2018). So there was improvement in all areas.
I'm on the WhatsApp Organising Committee Group and I knew they were getting things ready way before the event. Eg. sorting out the medals and goody bags.
This time a few had to go for SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) training. There was a lot of  short cuts at P.D., which I saw with my own eyes. But this time turning judges on SUPs were deployed at all turning buoys, so no short cuts.
The buoys didn't go flying about, well there's no currents in a lake.
The results were out quickly and almost 100% accurate.
Prize giving went smoothly as Yvonne and Tip also assisted at P.D.
Loges was again the M.C. Advance Tan took over for prize giving announcements.
No ultra long queues at Registration (well done Sumai, Julia and Joey).
Joey and little Elysa did food distribution.
Tip helped with left luggage and buoy rental, then she helped with medal distribution.
Of course Tip gave away her very popular banana cakes (99 pieces or more  I think).
Yoshi and Philip Tan were out on the course.
Jose followed the last kid swimming.
Zai provided amazing photographs for memories.
Many others helped.
Yoshi, one of the very top swimmers in the country but volunteers every race. Arigato

Sports brings UNITY / MUHIBBAH

Zai the photographer who brings happiness and wonderful memeories to so many people. TERIMA KASIH
There were no safety scares.
So it went quite well.
Well done Organising Team.
 
 
My personal race
A few days earlier (here comes the excuses), I swam my longest swim ever (25km +), so I knew I would have no speed. Anyway I was happy to be there with other swimmers.
I was slow. I felt so heavy due to the lack of buoyancy and I didn't stretch my shoulders enough (more excuses). I just did what I could and it wasn't good.
 
At the last turnaround buoy before the end of the first lap, I found myself close to a swimmer. So I drafted this swimmer for more than 2km of a 3.8km race. I struggled to keep with this swimmer who wasn't swimming in a straight line. Well beggars cant be choosy.
 
It was a young little person and I thought it might be Serge's daughter, Cloe. She is only about ten years old and at the finish I sprinted past her. I guess I have no shame drafting a ten year old girl for 2 km and sprinting by her just before the finish.
Third in my 50-59 Age group. First was Serge and Second a chap who came from Korea
I was third in my age group (50 - 59) in 1 hour 21 minutes. Serge was the clear winner. Even the second placed person (who came all the way from Korea) was far in front of me. Doesn't matter. It was a lovely sunless morning.
 
Notable winners
Jose was first overall as expected.
The future. Aiman and Mimi Adriana Lee
But second overall was young boy Aiman Lee. Now he is definitely something for the future. Him and his sister Mimi Lee, both are definitely something for the future. Their dad is Ben Lee who is a Triathlon and Swim coach, wonderful person, wonderful family.
Serge's powerful kids. Lucas and Cloe.
Third Overall was a woman, Jessie Wong from Sarawak. The 15km swims at 3.30 a.m. in the mornings have paid off for her.
 
I want to be like them when I grow up. First Male (Jose) and first Female (Jessie from Sarawak)
 
Overall
A happy morning.