Sarah’s Big Swim – Part 1: This is Sarah


This is Sarah Wapling:




Sarah is a mild-mannered funds management and financial planning recruitment consultant (which means her business card is the size of the front of a Fruit Loops box). She and Lee send their two boys to Merri Creek Primary School, where our kids go. They live in The Cloud House in North Fitzroy. It’s called The Cloud House because they managed to convince an architect that their back room should be built in the shape of a cloud. The Cloud House is one of the great party houses north of the Yarra (actually south of Reykjavik). Early in parties the cloud has a Shaun the Sheep appearance to it but a few bottles of sparkling shiraz and you could be mid-cumulonimbus in a Darling Downs storm.


The Waplings are beach-pool-water people.


Sarah is a swimmer. She’s actually an elite swimmer.


This is The English Channel:




This is a map of the English Channel:




In late July, 2019, while I am watching the British Open and inhaling Ruby port in a lounge in The People’s Republic of Northcote, Sarah is going to swim the English Channel. That’s like swimming from Flinders Street Station to the Kalkallo Pub. Sports scientists describe this distance as a FLW.


She will dive in near Samphire Hoe, just south of Dover. She will head south-east and her ambition is to get out in  France rather than Spain.


She is taking this very seriously.


This is Sarah training:




After extensive research about preparation, she decided to embark on a Low Altitude Training Camp in Fiji. Lee was happy with that. She discovered that Fiji Bitter is one of the better ways to load carbs. She is having four cartons of Fiji Bitter shipped to a B and B in south Kent.


I have applied to the people putting together Sarah’s Big Swim to have the Almanac recognised as the Official Media Partner of Sarah’s Big Swim.


I’m not sure how our application is progressing. Recently I was up early to follow another poor golf investment on Fox when, across 774 ABC Melbourne came a voice I recognised. “That’s Sarah!” I thought. “She’s telling Macca about her Big Swim. Macca!”


If the Almanac is going to win the gig, I’m going to have to do something about this.


Listen to Sarah’s interview with Macca HERE.  [Oh dear, it looks like the audio has expired.]


## Sarah and Lee Wapling had pieces published in The Tigers’ Almanac 2017 and The Doggies Almanac 2016 respectively.


## More by John Harms: ‘Simple Lethargic Motion’

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. “Sports scientists describe this distance as a FLW.” Brilliant.

  2. Sarah needs an extra year’s training to prepare for such an arduous venture. By the way – the 2020 British Open is at Royal St Georges (Sandwich) where Darren Clarke won in 2011. Just outside Dover in Kent.
    Just saying, the Almanac could have a couple of stringers on the spot in 2020 to cover the big event (Sarah’s swim of course).

  3. What a good idea PB? Sponsor?

    By the way, Sarah has training well under control – as we will learn soon enough. Her coach knows the Channel like Corey Enright knows the half back flank at the MCG.

    PS I was at the 1993 British Open at Sandwich (G. Norman in a quality tournament), afterwards drinking champers by the folly in the pheasant wood with ‘Peanut’ (Lord North, the 13th earl of Guildford) on their estate. But that’s another story.

  4. Sarah Wapling says

    FLW. I think I will start using that term amongst the EC community. Priceless.

  5. Colin Ritchie says

    Wow! I admire your dedication and committment to the task at hand Sarah. That is some effort! As a morning lap swimmer (usually 2kms) I often think myself the bees knees with my training and effort I put in. Over the summer period I swim in some of the ocean swims and I know how difficult that can be to complete the average 1 to 1.4km for each swim. Chicken feed when I think about what your requirements are for your ChanneI swim, incredible! I will eagerly follow updates of your progress, with your training, and the eventual swim through John’s reports. Go well Sarah, I wish you every success, this is a mighty effort.

  6. Flinders Street station to Kalkallo Pub is a FLW in a car!

    More power to you Sarah. I greatly admire endurance sports participants. I’ll watch with interest.

  7. Yvette Wroby says

    Sarah and John,
    You had me at the clouds shaped back room of your house. Swim well. Looking forward to hearing how you go.

  8. Fantastic. Look forward to following the Almanacs media coverage in all its vivid details. Huge efforts Sarah, good luck, keep warm.

  9. Hats off, S Wapling.
    I love it. Magnificent.

    Why the heck are you doing this?

  10. Great article John. The super carb overload is required to add insulation against that four letter word that mothers forbade endurance swimmers from using; c-o-l-d and the excess ‘conditioning’ is affectionately referred to as ‘insuranance’.
    Go Sarah. One feed at a time, D

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