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  • Writer's pictureJason Downes

1/52: The Rip Swim

Updated: Feb 15

"The Rip" is a bold, iconic 3.2km bucket-list swim across the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, the gateway to Melbourne, Australia. -

A couple of days before Christmas I was at a friend's house in Brunswick for pre-Christmas drinks. Amongst the usual chit chat about time off and Christmas day plans, my cycling buddy and ex-Hudson colleague Nathan Gardiner casually asked if I'd like to do the Rip Swim. He had a glint in his eye and excitement about him that instantly grabbed my attention. What's the Rip Swim? I wondered. At this point, Tom joined us to ask "Are you in? It's a team event and we need you!"

Nathan went on to explain that several times a year there's an organised swim across the heads to Port Phillip Bay from Point Nepean to Point Lonsdale. "That's impossible!" I replied. "If the rip doesn't get you the sharks will!" My flight or fight system was already kicking into gear and I could feel the adrenalin starting to course through my body. Two mates stared back at me with big grins and childish excitement in their eyes, waiting for my next reaction. "Okay, I'm in." With these three words, I don't know what I've set in motion for myself but I'm very excited, and equally shi**ing myself!

On Dec 28 David Heaney (another ex-Hudson cycling buddy) and I rode down to Point Nepean and I had my first chance to look at this stretch of water in the flesh (see pic above). "What was I thinking Dave? This is nuts!" I exclaimed. Dave wholeheartedly agreed.

 So what's in the acceptance of a challenge like this? I've embarked on similar Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG) before: The London and New York Marathons in 2001 and 2002; 12 months off alcohol in 2016 and; the Three Peaks Challenge in 2016 and 2018 (and coming up again in March this year). But why?

Perhaps I'm fearful of an inner laziness that needs to quashed with a regimented plan, all driven by the power of my amygdala fighting the fear of failure. Maybe it's the vanity of wanting to stay in good shape without having to cut the calories, or maybe it's simply the joy of ticking that item off the bucket list and achieving something tomorrow that you can't do today. Whatever it is, I start 2020 with my eyes on a new challenge and the excitement of what might come from it.

I'd love to hear from everyone else on this topic:

Have you completed the "Rip Swim" and what advice do you have for us? What's been the biggest challenge you've set yourself? Have you been thinking of setting yourself a BHAG but not got around to it yet? What challenge have you set yourself for 2020?


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