Shayla’s Rotto Swim

The first Rottnest Swim was held in 1991 with just 44 entries. Only 16 of those were solo swimmers. 

Fast forward to 2022 and hundreds of swimmers take the water to swim the 19.7 km. One of those swimmers to compete as a solo competitor was Year 10 student Shayla Keane.

What inspired you to do the Rottnest Swim?
When I was little, I always knew one day I would do it, however, I never thought I would do it at this age. I generally just wanted to push myself and set myself my next goal, which was the Rottnest Swim.

Is this the first long-distance swim you’ve done?
No, it’s not. Last year I swam to Rotto in a duo and prior to that, when I was 12, I swam the English Channel in a team.

What sort of training did you do for this event?
Part of my training was completing most of the open water swimming series swims throughout WA. I would also do the majority of my training in the morning. I would just go to my local pool and swim laps for a couple of hours. Then I would do the rest of my training in a local triathlon/open water swimming squad. In the afternoons it was with my usual swimming club.

What keeps you motivated to do all that training?
It was hard to wake up some mornings, but I just always kept in mind how amazing it would feel once I had achieved the swim.

Did you face any challenges? How did you overcome them?
I was surprised when I didn’t end up hitting a fatigue point, but there were lots of other things that were hard. For example, the saltwater was really strong which made my nose continuously burn and keeping in a straight line (making sure the tide didn’t push me off course). Towards the end, my goggles were so fogged up I was just guessing where I was going. The chaffing from my bathers has left lots of cuts on me because they just kept chaffing until they cut through a lot of my skin. I overcame these challenges because I knew there were worse things that could have happened.

What was your result in the swim and time?
My time wasn’t the best, but it was my first time so I’m just happy I finished, it was 7 hours 50 minutes.

Do you have plans to do other long-distance swims in the future? 
I’m going to continue to swim Rottnest (my goal next time is to do it in under 7 hours) and somewhere in the future, I’ll go back to the English Channel to swim it solo.

Shayla, congratulations on your amazing achievement. 

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