US Masters Swimming

Mountain View Masters

My Adventures at Worlds 2008 in Perth, Australia

By Alicia Koht

Subject: Greetings from Hong Kong and Australia - Part I
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 17:47:54 -0700

Hi all, I hope everyone is doing well!!! So my adventures have become to Asia and Australia, but so far so good. First, it was a long 15 hours flight to Hong Kong, but Cathay Pacific is WONDERFUL!!!! I loved it! I landed in Hong Kong around 8pm then managed to get through immigration, customs, exchange money, find the airport express subway, switch subways, walk to my hotel and all of this by 11pm! ha ha ha it was quite an adventure but I made it.

I stayed at the Central Park Hotel - similar to NYC on the 21st floor. It was pretty awesome with sights of the city. Then, the next day I headed out to the pool (of course!) and swam some laps, so Hong Kong lap swimming not like the US, there are no lane lines, no flags, more utter organized chaos. Also, no one swims the same line, so its more like an open water swim with a few obstacles in the interim, but it worked out pretty well. The indoor 50m meter pool was closed so I swam in the outdoor one, so maybe if I was indoors it would have been better, but its okay I still got to swim.

The pool that I went to also have Thai Chi in the morning too so that was pretty awesome to watch. There was this whole complex is wonderful and highly organized and the surroundings are just beautiful. After swimming I headed to breakfast and like a true tourist, I ate at this French Bakery, but it filled the void and it was pretty good :) Then my real day begun.....I took a stroll around the Hong Kong Island and say downtown and the Western/Financial District which was pretty neat, saw a Temple and went inside which is just amazing and then I headed to Victoria Peak, which is where you can see the entire city, which was just amazing!! I could stay there all day!!! At the top I took the hour stroll around the Peak which was amazing. Then from there I headed back to see the escalators that are intermixed in the middle of the city, in order to keep people from hiking the steep stairs so that was neat. Then I headed down to the waterfront to catch a bus to Stanley, which is on the other side of the island. That was a really neat ride, I was a bit nervous, but it was great. I got to see the non-city side of the island and it was also amazing and everything is just so vertical!!!! Stanley was wonderful I grabbed some lunch and ate on the waterfront and planned out the rest of my day (Alicia without a plan - come on!) So after lunch (late lunch - Spanish style!)

I took a few moments to walk around and see the water and beaches and walked through a few shops before heading back to Central District. Back in Central I went back to my hotel to change clothes and head out for the early evening. I took the Star Ferry across the Harbour to see the Kowloon side. I took a walk up Nathan Rd, which is one of the main shopping areas. Then I headed back down to the Promenade (sp) for the Symphony of Lights which is this light show of the buildings on both sides of the Harbor timed to music. I was there a bit early so I took a long walk, took a bunch of photos, and people watched. After the show I headed back up Nathan Road to Temple Rd to see the night sides, but 10ish I was pretty hungry and tired so I headed back to the Island, I grabbed some food, I cheated again and ate Western food but oh well!

The next day I pretty much some more sight seeing. I woke up and went swimming again, then took a walk through the park, grabbed some breakfast and walked all around the Kowloon side! It was amazing. I got to take some day light pictures of the Harbor and I took the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong Island. Then I took a quick stroll through the sites that I hadn't yet seen and headed back to the hotel to pack and get ready for my flight out to Perth. Headed to the airport and flew down to Perth a good 7.5 hour flight. Carol and Mike picked me up at the airport and have been my little hostess since.

Today is my first full day in Perth, so I have to go check in for the swim meet, then off to see some sights. I will be sure to keep you all updated! I will meet up with Carol later for Opening Ceremonies this evening and then tomorrow if my first race, so it should be fun. Take care and more adventures to follow!!

Love, Alicia

Subject: RE: Greetings from Hong Kong and Australia - Part II
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2008 04:35:49 -0700

I hope all is well. Here is update number 2 from Australia!!! Life has been fun and exciting!!! I got here on Wednesday and Thursday saw the sights. Thursday I went to check-in for the meet which took forever! Well 3 hours but still! Highly unorganized, apparently that is the way of life here and I "Got Perth-ed" (Perth is the city I am in). I met a number of swimmers which has been fun to cheer them on everyday. Then I got to swim in the pools to train for the afternoon. Then on to have fun for the rest of the day. I headed back to town and basically did the walking tour of the city which was pretty fun. I didn't have that long because I had to be back at the pool in a few hours for opening ceremonies.

Opening ceremonies were interesting, not very aquatic themed but it was aborigine themed. It lasted about 2.5 hours. There were dances, percussion, folk band, this HORRIBLE lady that changed the words in the song to fit swimming - not that great, and then the jazz band. Carol and I bugged out after that - and headed back to the apt.

The next day was my first event, the 800 free. I got up in the morning headed to down to have breakfast, which to give you a clue two scrambled eggs, toast, and coffee was $15.50 (Australian dollars) which was amazingly high!! But good food. Apparently food in Perth is SUPER expensive because everything needs to be flown in since we are on the west coast. So that was a bit of a shocker. Then I headed to Kings Park to see the Park and the botanical gardens and then headed to the pool for the afternoon session. I ran into one of my mom's co-teachers at the bus stop which was one of the most random encounters anywhere. Especially since all I had from my mom was her name and her event - kinda tough to pick out of crowd but apparently it's easier to meet folks waiting for a bus.

The events for the women on Friday were outside while the men were inside. The women swam in the rain and the cold. Then as my heat was approaching I was heat 36 of 36 (just my luck!!!). So I was waiting with the other heats when a thunder and lightening storm was suppose to hit and closest the pool. This was at about 5pm, so we had to wait for the storm to pass. Once the storm passed they couldn't reopen the pool because of the threat of lightening and more of the storm coming through. So were were told the last 6 heats of women's 800 free would be swum on Tuesday morning. However, this wasn't official and FINA then decided that we should swim that night, indoors after the men's 800 free. So we headed indoors which I meet up with my other swimmers buddies from around the world as we waiting for the men to finish - at 7:30/8 the men finished then the woman started. I was again the last heat (again my luck!!!) and swam the 800 free at 9pm without another warmup/dinner/and sitting for 4 hours to swim. Despite all that I didn't do as well as I would have liked but I finished 3rd so far of all the women that have swam. However, a number of swimmers left so about 2/3 swam Friday night and 1/3 will swim on Tuesday morning. So final results won't be ready till Tuesday so I will have to keep up all updated. Needless to say it was an adventure. But Carol and Mike were wonderful and called the pool to check on me and dinner was on the table when I got home - GREAT HOSTS!!!

Then Saturday was a day of FUN! We made some yummy breakfast (well more Mike then we girls!). We headed out to a nature preserve park and saw all sorts of animals. I got to feed a kangaroo!!!! AWESOME!! They are the best creatures ever and so fun and hang with. We must have spend a good hour playing and feeding them. It was amazing. Then we also go to pet a donkey, llama, goat, camel (granted we get it back in the states too but they were so cute and fluffy!). Then off to see birds, wombats, wallabees, and the best petting a koala bear. So fun.....It was truly amazing and well worth it. Then off the have lunch which apparently is hard to get at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. But we went to a chocolate factory which had samples :) and even better - LUNCH! So that was great....then we headed down the coast of Western Australia to see the Indian ocean where it was fun to play on the beach and put your feet in the sand!! It was so warm and so picturesque! It was amazing! And so clear! I can't even describe it. Then we headed south to Fremantle which is where we walked through town and had a beer on the main strip and people watched so that was fun. Ran into so swimmers there too - so always a good time. Then headed back to the apt to make dinner and be lazy and watch TV since we raced the next day.

Today we raced! It was a busy day. I swam the 400 IM and 200 free. Apparently I need to give up on the 200 free it wasn't the best race but I still placed. The 400 IM was great! I was very proud of myself and placed in that as well. I haven't ever swam the 400 IM long course so that was fun. Heather - the giant German girl was there again - it was the TALK of the meet and our heat. There were four of us that chatted about her and she is seriously a GIANT. She is probably 6'4" on a short day with shoulders which put a football player to shame. I think she is East German on Roids :) ha ha ha Inappropriate but maybe....I am 5' 9" and I was the second smallest in my heat so I felt like a little kid!!! Carol is shorter than me and said she doesn't deserve to swim against the German - ha ha ha So now I am back the apt resting for tomorrow.

Tomorrow I swim the 200IM (against the German actually!) and then I am going to watch my mom's friends dive and head out to dinner/cocktails with them, so that should be fun. Tuesday I have the day off so I am going to be heading out to an island off the coast for the day so that should be fun as well.

Hope everyone at home is doing well and enjoying work, school, fun and whatever else you are all up to. Enjoy my travels and volume 3 will follow later this week! Again sorry for the typos - but it's not work so it doesn't matter :)

Love, alicia

PART III

Hello all - Hope everyone is enjoying life back at home!!! Everything is going great here and I can't believe I am coming up on week 2 of Life Down Under! The 800 results were finally shared, I got 2nd - which I was very happy with. I was also a bit shocked, but I will take what I can get. The 200IM was less than impressive - we will leave it with I finished 18th and I will let you figure out the rest! Oops! Yesterday I swam the 400 Free and I finished 4th overall so that was also very pleasing. I haven't been swimming my best so I was pleased with my time. Today I swim the 3k open water, so that should be fun - I will just have fun and I will place wherever! :) Tuesday was one of my first days off so first I headed to the pool to swim then I went off to Rottnest Island off the coast similar to back home of Catalina.

First I took a ferry down the Swam River which meets the Indian Ocean at Fremantle (a major port city in Western Australia). I switched boats and headed out to Rottenest Island - going out the waves were just HUGE because there was a storm coming it. It was a roller coaster ride for19k. But it was pretty fun. I arrived on the island got a map or two and then headed to the general store and got some snacks for lunch. I didn't rent a bike around the island I mostly walked - so I walked to a lighthouse which was awesome and then ate my lunch on the beach it was sooo beautiful with nothing much in sight for miles, quite amazing.

Then I headed to the other side of the island to Salmon Bay which is apparently great for snorkeling, I did bring my gear but it was just way cold and I didn't want to leave my stuff on the beach so I passes and dipped my feet in the water and just enjoyed the waves. I probably lounged for a good hour or two it was so relaxing and great. Then I caught the ferry back to Fremantle which is 19k from the Island and then switched ferries to get back to Perth another 10k (??). So it was a good day. Then I hung out with Mike and Carol at home which was fun and definitely needed. Wednesday I headed down to Fremantle in the morning and did a self guided walking tour of the city, which was pretty amazing and the old fashion store fronts are amazing.

I got some breakfast on Cappuccino Row which was neat to see all the people even on a Wednesday morning. Then I walked around town, say the harbor, the University, the Prison, the Markets, Museums, etc. I was only there for a few hours but it was well worth it. Then I headed to the pool to swim for the day then off the airport to pick up Cristina - I was late but she waited :) We headed back to Perth and grabbed some lunch at a little cafe and then headed back to the apt. We three girls (Carol, Cristina, and myself) just chatted for a few hours which was pretty fun then headed downtown to meet up with Mike and an old swimmers from the Marlins (an old teammate). We had dinner at this Belgium restaurant. Which was amazingly good but we were there for hours just chatting and eating - it was definitely a good time had by all. Then headed home for the night to catch up on some zzzzz's.

Yesterday I was a bum and rested for my event in the morning. I went to town with Cristina and grabbed breakfast. Then Cristina went off for the day to Fremantle and I headed back home and did Cristina's laundry (such a good friend) and was a bum! But well needed. The headed to the pool in the early afternoon and swam the 400 free. Cristina and Carol meet up with my at the end of the meet to watch me swim and go to the open water meeting then we all headed to town to meet up with Mike for Korean food. It was great wonderful scrumptious yummy food!!! We chatted and ate then headed back home since I race today.

Today is the open water race and then me and Cristina are off to Cairns of the east coast (near the Great Barrier Reef) tonight. So that should be fun. More to follow about fun in the next few days since the past 10 have just been about swimming. Hope everyone at home is doing well and talk to you all soon!! Love, Alicia