They may not be at peak physical fitness and concede they are a little daunted by the task ahead. But a group of Perth swimmers are determined to take on the mighty challenge of swimming to Rottnest Island, covering 20 kilometres of open water. They ...
The swimming365 group emerge after a training session. (ABC News: Charlotte Hamlyn)
They may not be at peak physical fitness and concede they are a little daunted by the task ahead.But a group of Perth swimmers are determined to take on the mighty challenge of swimming to Rottnest Island, covering 20 kilometres of open water.They are all either at risk of or suffering from type 2 diabetes and began long distance swimming as part of a program designed to get their condition under control, with some seeing startling results.Swimming365 member Erica Bradley joined the program two years ago.
Swimming365 members Erica Bradley and Peter Michael at Cottesloe Beach. (ABC News: Charlotte Hamlyn)
It had a such a significant impact on her health she is no longer considered at risk of diabetes at all."It's made such a huge difference," she said."I didn't ever think I could do it; 15 metres and I was blubbering like a child."Now I do 2,000 metres without a problem."When you've got a group of people with whom you share this love of exercise you just keep going back because it's like going to see family."This year she will be cheering on Peter Michael when he takes to the water on Saturday.He started the program a year ago after being diagnosed with diabetes and has seen a dramatic improvement in his condition."I've lost weight, I've got my blood sugars under control, I've got a lot fitter, a lot stronger and I've improved my swimming," Mr Michael said."I've always wanted to do a Rotto swim and about six months ago we all decided we would all jump in and do it."Now we've got to try and get it done."The group is run by former Swimming Australia director Tom Picton-Warlow."It was set up to challenge people's perceptions about what they can do," Mr Picton-Warlow said."It's very much about having a go, fun, enjoyable exercise and with some input about diet as well."It's quite a holistic program."The swimmers come from different backgrounds and have varying levels of fitness and experience in the open water.But they have stepped up their training ahead of the 20km Port to Pub event, which sees competitors set off from Leighton Beach in North Fremantle and finish at the Rottnest Hotel.Event organiser Ceinwen Roberts said it was an alternative to the annual Rottnest Swim, designed to appeal to a broader range of participants by allowing teams of up to six people to take part."It's a real team event," Ms Roberts said."You've got to make tactics, make plans and be ready for any weather."But it's very achievable and it gives people a taste of what it's like and what's involved."Hopefully in the following years they can do a team of four, or a duo and ultimately a solo."
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