Commando stretches tradition in race training


Andrew Northover had to improvise some of his training for the Rottnest Swim.
       Picture: Jon Bassett
Andrew Northover had to improvise some of his training for the Rottnest Swim.        Picture: Jon Bassett

“I don’t think anyone who has entered the swim before will have done that little training outside of a pool,” the Cottesloe resident (46) said.

Mr Northover had to use the bands, before some late long-distance swimming sessions, while preparing for his second entry in the annual 19.7km swim to Rottnest Island that starts at Cottesloe Beach at dawn on February 27.

Mr Northover’s father John was a Legacy WA ward after the 1950 death of his father, Albert, a World War II fighter pilot who flew 77 Squadron Curtis Kittyhawks in the Pacific.

“As a parent, it’s made me realise just how much my dad missed out on by not having a father for most of his childhood,” Mr Northover said.

The money he raises in the swim will be used by Legacy WA to send the children of dead or disabled servicemen to Langford Hill Riding Farm at Waroona to learn horsemanship.

“I chose that because I’ve seen just how much children aged 10 to 18 grow in confidence and patience by caring for horses,” Mr Northover said.

His Rottnest swim will compare favourably with the crossings he endured before becoming a commando for three years.

“In induction training, they’d get you to swim to an island from the middle of Port Phillip Bay, and that’s not fun in Victoria in winter,” Mr Northover said.

Legacy WA currently provides activities, education and family support to 40 children and six disabled adults of service personnel killed or injured while serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor, Somalia and the Vietnam War.

The 1923-established charity initially helped World War I widows and orphans.

It is now preparing to deal with the effects of post-traumatic stress and service-related injuries of those who served in the conflicts and peace-keeping missions over the past 20 years.

To donate, go here