Sarah Nicol

Summer Ocean Swim 2km 2024

First Ocean Swim

I have spent my whole life at the beach.  Hot days - go to the beach.  Holidays - book somewhere near the beach. Let's go for a walk - let's go to the beach. Unwind after work - go to the beach. Catch up with friends - go to the beach.  
I love the ocean.  It brings me so much calm and I often see the water and just have this overwhelming urge to jump in.  

The first day of ocean swim training, I was nervous.  I had never been out past the break to swim.  I am very confident in the surf and to identify rips and swim under the big waves.  But swimming out the back.. that was new to me.

After a few lessons on the most effective way to get out the back past the surf, we were out the back and feeling very far from the shore.  I'm sure I would have been nervous if I was alone, however in our big group and the water safety team, I was feeling great.  Then we started our swim.  Not far, maybe a few hundred metres or so and the back.  Of course, I got stung by a jellyfish.  I've never had a sting before and I got such a shock.  It was like an electric shock up my arm and I was a bit confused.  I didn't see it and it was unlike anything I had felt before so I kind of splashed about then kept swimming.  

After the session, I looked at my forearm and I could see where the tentacles had been.  About an hour later, it turned into this big red raised bumpy rash that was unbelievably itchy!! For 2 weeks!! It was awful.  One of the other girls told me it was probably a jimbel (never heard of that before) and I googled it and yes, that was exactly what my rash looked like. 

Anyway, I survived and my next ocean swim. 

Why am I doing this?

Earlier this year, I injured my back.  I have had back problems for a long time and after having a baby my back issues got progressively worse.  
My dr recommended swimming.  Swim, swim swim.  
I know how to swim and I love to swim but I hadn't actively swum laps for many years.  I would say since school.  I found another charity who were raising money by swimming 20km in a month so I signed up and started swimming.  
It took me a while to build up my confidence and I would aim for 1km 3 times a week. In my local 25m pool this was 40 laps.
I then started to push myself to 60 laps and that would be my minimum.  I made the 20km in 26 days (I even had taken a week off for a holiday in this time) and since then I have been addicted. 
To me, swimming is a mental game.  I swim in groups of 20 laps.  Get through 20, then the next 20.  
I took some time off around May and June to have back surgery and since then I have been working up to 2.5km - 3km about 3-4 times a week.  

Before swimming and before my back injury, I loved to weight train.  That was my thing.  I would train 5/6 times a week and at one point I was about to compete in a bodybuilding competition (that got cancelled because of covid lockdowns).  When I found swimming, I loved to have something to focus on.  A goal.  A challenge to build my fitness and strength in the water.  Physically and mentally.  It gave me pain relief from the constant agony of my back, and it also gave me mental relief and a physical challenge.  

Lap swimming is so different to anything I've done before. I'm left alone with my thoughts.  All I can think about are the strokes, the line on the bottom of the pool and breathing.  Stroke, Stroke, Stroke, Breathe.  And repeat.  

Aside from the physical benefits I have seen from swimming, the mental benefits have been immense.  It's like meditation.  Time where I cannot think of anything else but breathing and stroking.  A few days without swimming now and I get a bit itchy for a swim.  I need to get in the pool to clear my mind.  It's a hard reset for my brain.  

So that leads me to Can Too.  
I really wanted a new challenge.  A swimming challenge.  I am obsessed with the ocean and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try ocean swimming.  After dinner with a friend and talking about maybe just trying ocean swimming but not knowing where to start she mentioned that some of her clients have done Can Too and they loved it.  Not only is it a supportive environment where there is a group of people who are all trying to achieve the same goal, they are all working to raise money for a really worthy cause.  
I was instantly excited to get involved and I signed up at the 11th hour (just in time for week 1 training) and have loved every minute since.  Swimming can be such a lonely sport and I have found so much enjoyment out of meeting new people and swimming together in the pool and in the ocean.  

Next February, I am swimming three ocean swims.  Whale Beach, Bondi Beach and Shark Island (Cronulla).  These are between 2km - 2.8km ocean swims. 

I have a goal to raise $1,360 for Cancer research. 
If you can, please consider donating to this cause.  1 in 4 people will be diagnosed with Cancer in their lifetime and Can Too are working to invest in research to better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.  

I am so grateful for any donation to support me on this journey and the work that Can Too do.

Supporting Can Too Foundation

I'm supporting cancer research and prevention with Can Too Foundation. 

1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. This means that potentially someone we love may have to battle cancer, and that's a statistic that needs to change. 

So I asked myself, "what can I do to help?" That's where the Can Too Foundation came in! Can Too provides professionally coached training programs for participants of any fitness level to run, swim and cycle their way to a healthier lifestyle and a cancer-free world. 

In return, I am raising valuable funds that go towards innovation in the prevention, care, and control of cancer. Since 2005, Can Too Foundation has trained over 18,000 participants and raised over $25,000,000 to invest in over 200 one-year cancer research grants.

It would be fantastic if you could sponsor me, or even better join me in a program!

Thank you for your support!


Thank you to my Sponsors




Rich C