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Manly Life Saving Club

Wednesday 19th April - Calm, flat, clear, no jellies... (we wish!)

Actually, those were the conditions at the Domain Andrew Boy Charlton pool at dawn this morning, where I joined the "Vladswim" squad - due to having a bit on at work its a lot closer to home and work for me (and i definitely need to work on my technique!).  So this week the blog focuses on some of the B&B swimmers who also train here following the black line, and the coach!


Condition report at Manly:

water temp: 20.2 degrees

air temp: 13.3 degrees at 6 am

conditions: hammering, rippy, messy, swirling bouncy - fun if you need an arm/upper body workout! (thanks to Frangi for the report!), jimbles, waves of happiness (or fear?) 

vibe: hesitant, bold, in awe (and perhaps a little frustration, or "bring it on"?) at mother natures fury.

Condition report at the ABC pool:

water temp:  27 degrees (well, it felt like it)

conditions: clear, calm, no jellies, a few hair ties & bandaids 🤢

vibe:  happy, grimacing at the constant speed/fatigue sets, inspired

This morning whilst waiting for the pool to open (a delayed opening due to a technical matter...- personally i was relieved the squad session was reduced to an hour - it was intense!), I decided to "interview" Vlad Mravec, one of Australia’s premier open water swim coaches, and some of the inspiring ocean swimmers who regularly train with Vlad. Some of those inspiring swimmers also regularly join the Bold & Beautiful swim squad.  


First of all, Vlad.   Vlad is the head coach of "Vladswim" - some of you may be familiar with or join his sessions during summer at the ABC pool in the Domain, Saturday ocean swims and winter squads at Victoria park pool next to Sydney uni.   Pool sessions focus on speed & technique which are applied to the open water. 


with over 25 years swim coaching, starting with coaching kids in pools and with 5 years of university study in physical education focusing on swimming,  over 10 years ago Vlad started coaching open water swimming, describing it as a "bug";  setting bigger goals becomes addictive.  Vlad is motivated with everyone's ("our") "why";  our stories, our journeys - learning about ourselves, our commitment, never giving up on goals even if we don't succeed the first time (and in open water swimming, achievement of an open water goal sometimes takes a few attempts as mother nature is in charge!), perseverance, resilience, discipline in training and then our success.    That is Vlads "why" - and its contagious!

Its also about the community:  Vlad has created an inspiring, supportive community of open water (and pool) swimmers - sharing joy in success in the pool or the ocean, supporting each other for the longer swims, and nothing but encouragement for newbies like me, the slowest in lane 1, to continue to reach further, and not just in terms of technique!  That said, Vlad is VERY technique focused (reduced effort, more distance, faster! - makes so much sense doesn't it?) and the words "reach further" "more power" "downhill" and many more mantras can be heard above the splashes at the ABC pool.


A few fast facts:

  • Louis Stephenson was Vlad's first open water marathon swimmer, who swam the English Channel in 2010 (louis also swam Rottnest in 2010, 11, 12 winning her division and once overall 6th)!.
  • Since 2010, Vlad has coached 66 swimmers to swim the Channel, some of them more than once!    He says that 66 channel swimmers are "66 stories" - all different, and all inspiring. 
  • add to that 13 triple crown swimmers (English Channel, Catalina Channel and Manhattan island) and hopefully a 14th when B&B swimmer Brendan Maher attempts Manhattan this July!
  • Vlad coached our very own founder and wonder woman Julie Isbill for her first channel swim, and since she was based in Perth, rather than joining his squads, Vlad prepared her program remotely she could follow in Perth.
  • many “vlad” swimmers are currently aiming for the "7 oceans" swims : Cook Strait (NZ - 26km), Molokai channel (Hawaii - 44 km), Gibraltar (16 km), North Channel (between Ireland and Scotland - 34km), English Channel (34km), Catalina Channel (USA - 32 km) & the Tsugaru Strait - Japan between Honshu and Hokkaido - great ski destinations BTW -  20 km.   Dean Somers is tantalisingly close, and will hopefully be the first of Vlads swimmers to complete this amazing feat with an attempt to swim the Tsugaru Channel later this year - hopefully 3rd time lucky

...And some of the inspiring swim squad:

there are 15 English channel solo swimmers (and a few Manly LSC life savers!) in this photo!  WOW!


Dean Somers (pictured below with John: English Channel, Rottnest, Derwent, first to swim from the Bowen Bridge to Bruny island!) aims to complete the 7 oceans with the Tsugaru Strait in July, THEN a 100km swim from Newcastle to Sydney!  Dean's "Why" is always having a goal, and the inspiring community of swimmers, and inspiring and supporting others to achieve theirs.


Eva Buzo (below) aims to swim from Italy to Albania -  Eva's "why" - her grandfather is Albanian and she aims to be the first person to swim the Eltano strait! 


Brendan Maher (familiar to all of you!) - aims to complete the triple crown with the Manhattan Island swim in July, pictured with Grant Campbell who has recently completed the Port to Pub in WA with Lizzie Crowhurst (both swam individually, in tandem), swam around Great Keppel last year (and hopes to repeat this August) and has swum the English Channel in a relay.  Grant & Lizzy, both regulars at Manly, are active fundraisers for Can-too - their "why".


Vlads tips for swimmers who may be thinking about challenging themselves with open water swimming (or any goal really) are:

  • know your "why" - that gives you momentum which keeps you reaching for your goals.   
  • dont lose momentum - this fuels the fire in your heart, your "why"
  • everything is possible, even for those of us in lane 1!  
  • fitness and training is the "hard" part - the actual swim, most leave everything at the end, whether it be the French beach or wherever, and enjoy the swim experience!

So, LOTS of inspiration  this morning (look them up on instagram to follow their progress!) - if you have a goal, or even a spark in your heart (whether swimming rates or not) consider giving it a red hot go as you never know if you don't!

As always, have a wonderful Wednesday, stay safe, be kind, look out for and after each other,



And please remember the badge ceremony this Sunday!  Inspire and be inspired!

2023 Summer Badge Ceremony – Sunday 23rd April

You’ve done the hard yards and earned your Summer Badge(s), so why not collect them personally with all the pomp and ceremony the B&B can muster. Our Summer Badge Ceremony will be held at the Royal Far West’s Centre for Country Kids at 14-18 Wentworth St (opposite Rialto Square) on Sunday 23rd April, at 8 am, straight after the regular swim! Everyone is welcome, family, friends and swimmers alike. Bring along $10 for each badge you have earned (credit cards will be accepted at this event). $5 will be donated to RFW for each badge collected at this event, so, if you can’t make it, get your friends to collect your badge for you. Or if you have previous badges you have forgotten to collect, now is the time to do it.

A $5 per person donation will be payable to the RFW at the gate for hosting this event, and .... RFW will provide a FREE breakfast (sausage sandwich and a coffee/tea). Bookings are essential to ensure there is enough food. Book here NOW







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