Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bali Ocean Swim. 10 km. 3 July 2016

Next Race
Confirmed on 2 July 2017, Sunday.
Registration here or pay cash (USD 100 for the 10 km) at the official hotel's reception counter (Bali Garden Beach Hotel) up to Saturday, one day before the event. I think it might even be possible to register early sunday event as its a charity event.
Improvements from last year
I felt it was much better organized in 2016 compared to 2015.
The race start / finish gantry was still standing when I finished in 2016 unlike in 2015 when it had to be removed because it had collapsed. There was also a proper timing chip at the end. The finish was clearly marked for swimmers to run through so as to not miss the timing chip reader. The Port Dickson Swimathon can learn from this rather than rugby tackling finishers to force them to run by the timing chip reader.
Finishers of all distances received a Finish Bali Swim towel. Still no medal but at least there is a finish momento.
The distance swam was more accurate in 2016 (11.2 km on my Garmin 920XT) versus 8.6 km in 2015. 8.6 km is way too short for a 10 km swim.
Other good bits
Charity Event
One will feel good when supporting this event. Race Director Rodney Holt (founder of local Charity, Bali Sports Foundation) is doing all manner of things for local charities. Specifically the entry fee is used to make a donation to the local lifeguards (Kuta Beach Balawista) and to help disabled children and youth to swim.
The race registration is manned by disabled persons in wheelchairs. Some participants are blind whose safety are ensured by the very capable lifeguards. If its safe for the blind, surely its safe for everyone else.
I make a personal donation to the local Lifeguards every year. They are wonderful people.
Convenient Race Location to get to
Bali has a new large International Airport which is only about 2 km from the event location. Many flights of course go to Bali. Its quite possible to get a taxi for IDR 100,000 to go to your Kuta Hotel.
The main official Hotel is the Bali Garden Beach Hotel which is a bit costly. There are many hotels nearby. Its after all Kuta Beach, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Be careful of prices though, it can be quite ridiculously expensive for unknown reasons.

Nice event location
 Swimmers swim parallel to the famous Kuta Beach which is actually quite beautiful. The sky and ocean is blue. The event briefing, registration and prize giving is held at the Boardwalk Restaurant. I think they were even serving free jacket potatoes to attendees.

Technical and safety support is provided by the Balawista Lifeguards. They are everywhere on the course. In 2015, when I finished last, at least one kayak was shadowing me throughout my swim. All kayaks have water and they seem to know how to watch out for you unlike some other swim events.

As 2016 was my second time, I felt very comfortable with the course and knew what to look out for.

The Ocean whilst clean, is murky. You cant see the bottom or any fishes. There are no jelly fish.

Some Tips for the Swim
 Kuta is a surfing beach and the waves very close to the shoreline can seem to be like a vertical wall. I lost my safety float (which got detached from my body due to the force of the waves) during my warm up the previous day. I seemed to somersault in the water many times, luckily there were no rocks.
The trick I think is to GO UNDER the wave when we are swimming out. When swimming back to shore, it doesn't matter.

When turning one's head to breathe during the 10km swim, the ocean does appear daunting. Its just so massive. So the trick is to not look at the waves (the waves will scare everything out of you), don't think about it. Just concentrate on your swimming.

Take water from the Lifeguards often and keep some gels in your swim wear.

Relax, enjoy the occasion and everything will be ok.

Tip accompanies me on all races

Race registration and briefing

Boardwalk Restaurant. Participants relaxing

10 km start. 16 participants
Tackle that huge wave correctly and you will be ok

Finished 3rd last. 11.2 km on my Garmin. 4 hrs 16 min

Finish Line Gantry, still standing this year

Every year I make a personal donation to the Lifeguards

with the wonderful Lifeguards

Rodney Holt. Gentle giant Race Director
I hope to see some of you next year, inshallah. Thank you


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