The worldwide Augustana College experience

Bondi Beach Swim

Sprinting across the sand to join the plethora of red headed caps bobbing up and down in the ocean water in a conglomerate of hectic and frantic splashing, I flung my clothes off with little regard to where they landed.

Bondi Sunrise

My friend, Eric Timko and I, were sprinting to the start line of our first ever ocean swim at Bondi Beach but quite what race we were sprinting towards – we were not aware of. Nevertheless, it would soon, quite embarrassingly, be revealed.

The day started with a 6:30 wake up; a heavy, yet not unwelcome change from the usual past midday Sunday wake ups I have experienced since the start of my time down under.

I was determined to get some goggles for the 500 metre race we decided to undertake Friday night and so we set off in plenty of time to make our 8:15 race, straight after the women’s race at 8:30.

After failing to find goggles, we set off down the beach towards the event sign up and waited in line. Ten minutes later, it soon became clear to us that we might be in the wrong line.

“You better hurry or you’ll miss your race,” was the advice given to us when we finally found the right desk.

We jogged out of the surf club, slightly confused about the time and saw a mass of people swimming as hard as possible in the ocean.

So here we were; sprinting across the sand fully clothed performing what must have looked like a very odd strip routine across the beach!

We arrived at the start line, handed in our names and jumped in after the group.

The swimming hat, despite its clear majestic aesthetics, didn’t do much when it came to keeping water out of my ears. The first wave hit and instantly, I felt as if I had an entire ocean swilling around.Bondi Swim

Eyes stinging due to my lack of goggles and with waves splashing one after the other, I pushed on and started to catch up with the group.

About half way through the race, having passed those lagging behind, I could see another group I was closing on up ahead.

Bloody hell I’m doing well, I thought.

Around the midway point, my inability to put my head down meant my feet were dragging far too low in the water which was slowing me down so I changed to breaststroke.

Well, that is part of the excuse; the real reason is probably more to do with me being tired!

Now, I’d like to say that when I kept passing red caps while doing breaststroke, alarm bells started to ring. But as they say; ignorance is bliss and I continued to think that I was just doing well!

It didn’t hit me until the very end when I caught a wave with a red cap up ahead. It finally dawned on me Timko and I were in the wrong race!

Upon hitting the beach, I gathered my bearings and rose next to a rather good looking, slender lady!

We could’ve been excused for mistaking the red hats going into the water around 8:20 as our race; however the blaringly obvious difference in our white caps and their red ones left us without a leg to stand on!


I’d love to know what that lady said to me but unfortunately I was pretty deaf due to the amount of water in my right ear!

Even despite the comical misunderstanding, I had an absolute blast. To add insult to injury, I got stung by a jelly and found out that goggles were on sale right outside the sign up surf shop! I was in too much of a rush to notice!Goggles



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