Thirteen students from Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School took part in this year’s South 32 Rottnest Channel Swim.
This was the 22nd year that the School has participated in the swim. Of the 13 students that competed, there were a mix of novice and experienced competitors, all of whom completed the race.
For Year 12 students, Owen Cattaway and Sarah Mazzucchelli, this was their third and final crossing with the School.
“Each time I crossed the finish line, I felt exhausted. This year was no exception, but I felt a much larger sense of achievement as this year’s conditions were much rougher than past year’s and making it past the finish line in such a good time was no small achievement,” said Sarah.
Owen, who came in 16th place overall and 9th in the male solo category, is the third student in the School’s history to attempt the race solo and the second student behind Tahlia Jensen (2016) to complete the race.
“It felt amazing. When my hands ran through the Rottnest Island sand, I felt so accomplished and so complete. I had worked tirelessly over the last couple of months to make sure everything was accounted for, and it worked,” said Owen.
Owen has learnt a lot from the entire experience saying, “My swims have taught me that no matter what you do you must prepare for every single little thing as no matter how strong and fit you are, in the open ocean the conditions can change rapidly”.
When asked what are his favourite memories from his swims, Owen said, “The starting line and finish line were my best memories of the swim. Running up the beach with everyone cheering and knowing I just swam 19.7km straight, you can’t compare it to anything else.”
His amazing feat has inspired his fellow swimmers such as Year 9 student, Dustin Gee, who completed the race in a team. “I was pretty excited when our team finished, especially when we finished just ahead of our main rivals who we were so close with the whole way,” said Dustin.
“I want to do the Rottnest Channel Swim solo one day, watching Owen do it was so cool and I reckon if I keep training I ca do it too.”
As for advice for students who are thinking of doing the swim in the future, Sarah said, “Do not give up, even if you are not the fastest or strongest swimmer, you can still make it, and at the finish line, all the hours of training, jelly fish and tired muscles will be worth the sense of achievement you feel.”