For many the sea is a place to relax beside and maybe have a surf in, but for British-born Gold Coast resident Jane Solomon, it’s a very different playground.
The effervescent Jane has been long-distance ocean swimming all her adult life and in 2003, the now-43-year-old became the 143rd person to swim the 32 kilometre English Channel in a time of 10 hours and 47 minutes.
And this Sunday morning at 8:10am, she’ll take the plunge at Mermaid Beach as an entrant in the 2018 Pan Pacific Masters Games Ocean Swim.
For those who think that it will be a doddle for the Channel conqueror, Jane is happy to explain that an ocean swim and the English Channel are two very different things.
“Swimming the English Channel is like being in a washing machine with huge ferries going from England to France and all the freight ships going down the middle, while the ocean here has waves that throw you around and rips and all those sorts of things,” she told ABC Gold Coast radio.
“In fact, a lot of people from here who go over to try to swim the Channel find the conditions very difficult and can’t make it because of the motion of the water and the different waves that you get.
Despite Jane’s endurance achievements, this weekend’s 5km distance still daunts her.
“I haven’t competed for six years since before I had my daughter Millie (3) and right now, I stand on the beach like most people and look at the ocean and wonder if I can make the distance.
“I was previously doing a six-kilometre training session every day and five kilometres was like having a day off.
“Now I’m doing a two and a half kilometre session each day without haven’t done five kilometres in a long time.
“I know I can make it, but I also know it won’t be a breeze.”
Jane will also compete in swimming at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre as an entrant in the 200m and 400m freestyle and the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m backstroke.
But the former world masters 200m backstroke champion said she has had a less than ideal preparation for the pool events.
“I was so motivated in February when they were building the stands for the Commonwealth Games that I trained so hard I injured my shoulder.
“The motivation to enter the Pan Pacs was to be surrounded by that competitive environment again, however my physio and I were both working at the Commonwealth Games in the medical unit and I never got on top of my injury.
“It’s pain-free but it clunks when I try to swim fast, so I’m really hoping it stays stable this week and doesn’t go clunk, clunk, clunking away.”
And there may be an aquatic dynasty in the making with daughter Millie able to swim 100m by the time she turned two.