Rotto swim special: Interview with a superstar

In the lead up to one of the biggest open water swims in the world this weekend Lifecare Cottesloe thought we would get some insight into what goes through the hearts and minds of the intrepid adventurers who take on this challenge. Our very own Physiotherapist Kaidee Arnold, aka The Kid, has crossed the Rottnest Channel a remarkable 7 times, 6 in a group of four and last year as a soloist achieving a wonderful time of 5 hours and 35 minutes. This year she is helping a team of rookie young gentleman by carrying them across the line.

This exclusive interview outlines the differences in training for a solo vs a team crossing. We hope you enjoy.

Kaidee, thanks for joining us. What is so special about the Rottnest Channel Swim that keeps you coming back for more?

The celebrations at the end of the Rotto swim is really what its all about for me. Im not sure there’s anything that can top the feeling of crossing the line as a soloist last year, it was such a massive sense of achievement after training so hard. Being part of a team it’s just a good fun day working together and then getting to cross the line with your mates.

Is the amount of training that you do much different between a solo swim and working as part of a team?

Exponentially!!! I don’t think I’ve ever been as fit as I was in the lead up to last years swim. For a solo I trained 6 days a week, doing up about 32km weekly throughout January and February. This year I’m counting on some serious muscle memory as I haven’t trained nearly as much or as consistently.

So, how much have you been doing this year?

I’ve tried to swim about 2-3kms 3-4 times a week. My training load fluctuated and I had good weeks and lazy weeks with a few holidays here and there. Last year throughout the Christmas and New Year period I tried to limit my junk food and alcohol consumption (pretty sure I made up for it this year) and also trained my normal schedule. Comparing the past two years I definitely think consistency is the key in the lead up to the swim.

As a girl from Narembeen (where the open water swimming is fairly scarce I assume) how did you get into it?

I’ve been a swimmer all my life but did my first team swim when I was in year 10 with my parents and a family friend. My folks had been doing the crossing for several years and I’d gone over to see them arrive on the island and had seen how much fun it was and always wanted to do it.

Like any well trained athlete, do you get injuries or niggles throughout your preparation?

As any of the physios within our clinic can tell you, I definitely do. Last year especially I struggled with shoulder impingement and have had a few niggles again in my right shoulder and elbow this year. I’ve had regular treatment from Jacinta, Michael and Macca and have been doing my rehabilitation exercises diligently (like all good patients do ;)) which have helped keep my shoulder issues to a minimum. Again I found consistency was the key when doing my exercises but also a decreased training load has helped this year for sure.

A little birdy tells me that the team is going for a special look this year, anything your adoring fans should be looking out for on the starting line?

Just look for the most elite athlete on the beach… I’ll be the person standing next to them. But yes the little birdy is correct, my teammates decided we should wear matching togs so we will all be sporting budgie smugglers (however mine are full piece) covered in red and green apples. Will be hard to miss and hopefully don’t resemble a seal.

Any bits of advice for people fronting up to their first Rottnest Swim this year, whether it be a solo, duo or team?

Good luck to all people participating in the Rottnest Channel Swim this year, especially to our patients, and Kaidee, Tim, Jackson and Rhett, we wish you good conditions and all the best on the day.