Sunday 5 July 2009

Swimming around Malta: Overview

Yes the title is correct, I have just spent a week ocean swimming around Malta. What a blast! Malta is an amazing spot which sports some of the most incredible landscapes and scenery. Really the perfect way to swim!

Following a recommendation from a training buddy (thanks Luke!) I headed over to Europe to do a "SwimTrek". A group of 12 of us had decided to do this 'swimming holiday' or 'madness' as the rest of you are probably thinking! Over the course of the week, we swam a total of approx 22km including 3 channel crossings which were probably the highlight. In fact, there is nothing more satisfying than swimming a 5km distance across 2 ocean channels and past an island, through a ridiculously strong current and hitting land and the stopwatch, to find we had equalled the season record of 1hr, 18mins, 13 secs...well to be honest we don't know what the previous record holding groups seconds was but we reckon that was pretty awesome. I was lucky enough to have 2 great guys (Lars and Dorian) who were fantastic swimmers and who kept me at pace the whole time. We three made up the pink group (much to my delight, but not so much Lars'). The middle group were orange and the slower group yellow. We also had an amazing girl in our group, Jenny, who had cerebal palsy, but whom had the determination and most fantastic attitude ever. Nothing was stopping this girl!

My daily format was as follows: Tori run from 650am until 8/8.15am, quick dip in the most fabulous bay in front of the hotel, breakfast, jump in the boat and head off to our start location for the day, jump overboard and start swimming. Most swims were approx 2km with a few 3km and 5km ones for good measure! Lunch on the boat, Tori take lots of underwater photos, read a book, lie in the sun to create tan to make training buddies jealous upon my return, and then dive overboard for afternoon swim, approx 2km again. The aim whilst swimming was also to avoid the jellies (jellyfish) which had a wicked sting in them and left welts across poor Lars chest so big he ended up swimming on Dorian's feet most of the trip for fear he would be stung again! Not surprisingly I never stopped moving and had an absolute blast, and was aptly awarded the "energiser bunny" award for the week.

Our guides Lizzie and Catherine were a blast, highly entertaining and managed to keep us all safe for the week, which, when you have 12 swimmers or varying abilities in the ocean, can be a difficult task!

Our home base was a gorgeous bay called Xlendi on Gozo, which is an island just above Malta. Our hotel was on the waters edge and made for a fantastic base for the week.