HAVING grown up in Switzerland, you wouldn’t think Simone Blaser would be a natural in the ocean.
But since immigrating to Australia and settling in Hamilton Hill, she can’t get enough of open water swimming.
“In 2000 my boyfriend and I traveled around Australia in an old ambulance and fell in love with the country,” Blaser says.
“In 2008 we emigrated to Fremantle and have since become a family of four. Freo is such a great place to live.”
Blaser was busy training for the Port to Pub 25km ultra-marathon swim in 2022, when Covid struck and the race was cancelled.
It’s one of the longest open water swims in Australia, beginning with a 6km loop from Leighton beach to Cottesloe and back before making the crossing to Rottnest Island.
“I did a 25km swim in the Swan River instead and it was just beautiful,” Blaser said.
She didn’t rest on her laurels and in August 2022 completed the Lake Zurich Marathon Swim, a 26km crossing from Rapperswil to Zurich in Switzerland.
Blaser says fresh water is less buoyant than salt water, so it’s often more tiring swimming in a lake than the ocean.
“It took me 10 hours and 46 minutes to complete and was by far the hardest challenge I’ve achieved so far,” she says.
“It was very tough due to the freshwater and headwinds but at the same time very beautiful.
“Swimming towards my home city and being able to finish the swim has been a long-time dream – and I did it.”
Now all her attention is on the rescheduled Port to Pub 25km ultra-marathon on March 18.
It’s one of three prestigious swims in the Australia Triple Crown of open water swimming.
“I started ramping up the training in October and slowly increase every week, peaking at four weeks before the event,” Blaser says.
“The distance of 25km is a long way to go.
“You never know what the conditions will be like and that’s a bit nerve racking.”
When she’s not busy training, Blaser works part time at Fremantle Pool and also started her own business Swimwild Escape, running swimming retreats in places like Karri Valley, Rottnest and Margaret River.
“It’s my absolute passion and doesn’t seem like work as I’m always thinking about new adventures and locations to swim in,” she says.
For more info or to register for the 2023 Euroz Hartleys Port to Pub with Hotel Rottnest, see porttopub.com.au
by STEPHEN POLLOCK