There are probably many ways one could get involved in a winter swim - but this is one way you definitely shouldn't.
Rewind to Saturday morning, June 11, where I joined a large group of locals at Mitchies Jetty in Merimbula for the WinterSun Festival swim events.
Being a young, keen journalist with a personal liking for cold challenges, I decided enthusiastically to get involved with the 120 metre WinterSun swim event firsthand.
To say I was underprepared would be an understatement.
The night before the swim I had boasted to my family that I was going to be swimming in the morning, to which they all had a good laugh.
When they realised I was serious however they insisted I wear a wetsuit, which I agreed to do - reluctantly because I've never been a fan.
The issue was the only full wetsuit I had to wear was the one from when I was 15, and I have naturally filled out since then.
Regardless, I decided after trying it on and seeing that I could still walk and swing my arms in it, that it would be fine, and just shrugged it off with the Aussie "she'll be right mate" attitude.
Oh boy it was not alright at all - it was a very, very tight dilemma.
When I flopped into the water, I suddenly noticed I was feeling restricted in my wetsuit, a whole lot more than when I was out of the water.
In hindsight, I should have at least tested out the wetsuit before going for a swim, but my young attitude of you only live once meant I had rushed into it, thinking I was ready to tackle the world.
Let me tell you the only thing I tackled was my pride as I bobbed in the water, unable to move my arms or legs freely.
Here I was stuck in a wetsuit, in the cold water with a large group of swimmers behind and in front of me and my best options were to either splash my way forward or raise my hand for help.
Well of course I didn't want to admit defeat and raise my arms up and be rescued by the surf life saving group - can you imagine?!
Bega journalist gets rescued from 120 metre swim by nearby surf lifesavers and extracted from undersized wetsuit - not exactly the glamorous headline I'd imagine for myself.
So I reluctantly swam forward, breathless, cold and advancing at an excruciatingly slow, snail like, pace.
As I saw pretty much every single swimmer that started after me overtake and reach the shore, I found myself regretting my choice of swimwear.
I kept thinking to myself "you should have just gone in your swimmers, there are heaps of others who did that?!" But those grumpy thoughts weren't what was going to get me to the finish line - it was my small paddles forward to get my feet back on ground and out of the wetsuit which helped me forward.
So that's the story of how one young, enthusiastic - but under-prepared - journalist learnt the hard way that you should always test your gear before going out for a community event - or else you might find yourself bobbing slowly back to shore coming second last to 44 other swimmers.
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