Bulli swimmer set for 2020 Australia Day Aquathon long course challenge

HARD WORK: Kate Brett prepares for a swim at Belmore Basin ahead of Sunday's Australia Day Aquathon. Picture: Robert Peet
HARD WORK: Kate Brett prepares for a swim at Belmore Basin ahead of Sunday's Australia Day Aquathon. Picture: Robert Peet

As temperatures drop into the negative in the UK this week, Kate Brett is grateful she now lives in Bulli.

Brett grew up in Hertfordshire, a county located between London and Cambridge. She moved to the Illawarra four years ago.

The nearest beach was at least two hours away for Brett. These days, it's just minutes away.

Brett has developed a strong passion for swimming, particularly out in the open water. She undertakes regular lessons at the University of Wollongong, where she works, under the guidance of coach Lawrence Stubbs.

Now, the 38-year-old is ready to put her fitness to the test by taking on the Australia Day Aquathon's long course in Wollongong on Sunday.

Brett has already done the Aquathon's short course before in 2016, which was a 450-metre swim and 3km run. She will more than double that challenge this weekend by taking on the 900m swim and 7km run.

"I've always been a runner, but in the last 10 months or so, I've been getting back into my swimming," she said.

"I got a job locally which means I can go to the pool here at the university and I've been really loving it. Back in the UK, we didn't really do much swimming. For anyone who has been to the UK, you will know that the local beaches and weather are not really conducive to open water swimming.

"It was terrifying when I went to my first lesson here. But I got through the first couple of weeks and it's a great sport to be involved with."

Brett says she "does something every day" to prepare for the Aquathon.

Her schedule includes two stroke development classes, an open water swimming session and multi-sport conditional training each week. She also regularly goes to the gym and does Parkrun on Saturdays.

"When the opportunity to take part in the Australia Day Aquathon [this year] came up again, I thought I'd give it a really good go and do the long course," Brett said.

"To have the opportunity to go and put myself out there is really scary and really challenging. But the support has just been incredible and I'm really grateful for that.

"It's double the swimming length [compared to last time] and you have to do twice the amount of running. Although I'm a happy runner, I'm not a terribly fast runner.

"I just love all of the different activities that there are in the Illawarra. There are community activities and sporting activities to get people out in the community, keep them outside and happy and healthy."

To have the opportunity to go and put myself out there is really scary and really challenging.

Kate Brett

Brett encourages anyone interested in Aquathon to get out and have a go on Sunday.

"I remember from last time that it was just a lot of fun," she said.

"It's really busy and a really good atmosphere down there. I think the organisers do a great job at making the event really accessible for everybody as well.

"I think it's a really great event for pushing yourself and getting into something new in a safe, fun environment. I really encourage someone has not done it before to give it a go. If I can do it, anyone can do it."

This story Bulli swimmer set for 2020 Australia Day Aquathon long course challenge first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.