All’s Wells for Serena’s seventh consecutive Rottnest Channel Swim

Serena Wells. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d483635
Serena Wells. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d483635

SHENTON Park ocean swimmer Serena Wells (48) won’t let the memories of an injuring kick from another competitor stop her seventh consecutive entry in the Rottnest Channel Swim.

Ms Wells will be one of 2494 hopefuls leaving Cottesloe Beach from dawn on February 23.

“Last year I got kicked at the start and swam the entire distance with two broken ribs, but despite that I had a lovely swim because we had a south westerly wind, a bit of swell, and you felt like you were body surfing,” the lawyer said.

She clocked a time of about 6 hours 49 minutes for the 19km to the island last year, and she said her goal was “just to finish” this time round competing solo.

The male record was set by Solomon Wright last year in 3hr 59m 28s in 2018, while the fastest woman was Tamara Bruce, who did it in 4hr 10m 3s, finishing at Natural Jetty, in 1993, and Bronwyn Whitehead who in 2000 took 4hr 25m 53s to Thomson Bay.

Ms Wells said her training has halved to swimming about 20km a week during four sessions, after her distances were ramped up before she took on the English Channel with a Perth team last September.

She took up swimming to get fit and active after major surgery in 2013, and said she found personal and calm relaxation being offshore, with the Rottnest course having its own attractions each year.

“You can see fish, turtles and seals, but is the community you get with the other swimmers too,” she said.

This year, 366 solo entrants, 196 duos and 434 teams will take on the challenge of the crossing, which is limited by the maximum number of 1000 boats and support vessel allowed for safety reasons.

The swimmers will hit the water in 13 waves, stating with the first group at 5.45am who are the elite soloists in the Champions of the Channel.

They are followed by three waves of solo swimmers, three of duos and six of teams, all of which leave 10-minute intervals.