“I just wanted to keep swimming”: Nicola takes on her first ocean swim

We love hearing personal success stories, and this one from Nicola Harris, is typical of the OceanFit participant and will resonate with a lot of people out there thinking of taking on their first ocean swim.

What inspired you to take on the Bondi to Bronte ocean swim?

I fractured my foot running and took up swimming to cross train. I set myself the challenge of doing the Bondi to Bronte to keep myself motivated, and also thought it was the perfect opportunity to do something I would normally never do.

How would you describe the challenge you thought you faced to reach this goal?

It felt like a huge/daunting challenge. At the time I wasn’t a very strong swimmer, but was just starting to build up swim fitness. I was also never that comfortable in the surf, navigating bigger swells and rips had always scared me. At the back of my mind I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it or not.

How did you go about preparing for the event?

I was initially just swimming laps on my own. It didn’t take long before I got over that. I joined a couple of squads for extra motivation, they made the distance go much quicker and I was able to improve my technique. I also joined OceanFit, initially doing level 1 and then the VITALITY program.

How did OceanFit fit into your preparation and what did you get out of it that helped you in the swim?

OceanFit built my confidence in the surf massively. Level 1 taught me the foundations of ocean swimming. VITALITY was all about putting it into practice. Doing ins and outs, dives, body surfing, and just some swims out the back, week on week, and with good company, made it all fun.


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How were the nerves leading into the swim?

The swim came up much quicker than I expected. I went to the beach early in the morning to check out the surf, and it was dead flat which eased the nerves a lot. I was actually hoping for some waves to put all my training to the test, but I won’t complain. As the goal was to finish, I had put no pressure on myself. I just wanted to enjoy it.

How did the swim go?

It was great, I finished in 38:58 mins which I was totally stoked with. There were big crowds in the water which I’d been warned about so I tried to stick to the side as much as I could, but managing my way between the other swimmers was probably the hardest part of the swim.

nicola-and-friend
Nicola (left) and a friend on Bronte Beach after completing the Bondi to Bronte ocean swim.

How did you feel once you’d completed the swim?

So happy it was over, although I kind of wanted to keep on swimming. It went too quickly.

What is your next challenge?

Haven’t yet set it, I’ll be back running but think I’ll be keeping an element of swimming up especially over summer. An ocean swim before work is a great way to start the day!

What advice do you have for other’s thinking of taking on a similar ocean swim goal?

It’s easier than it sounds. Just do it!


Nicola started OceanFit’s ocean swimming pathway with the ocean swimming level 1 clinic, and this prepared her, and was a pre-requisite, for a block of morning VITALITY ocean fitness classes. This is the most popular OceanFit program of training.

Our next block of ocean fitness classes starts in the second week of January, and there are level 1 clinics on 17 Dec and 7 Jan.

Check out our ocean swims calendar to find a goal ocean swim and then follow our 8-week online swimming training program to help get you there with confidence.

This post was written by Andre Slade

Andre is the owner of OceanFit with over 20 years in the swimming education, lifeguarding and coastal safety industry.

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