Sunday, 12 March 2017

Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival 2017

The Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival took place on the weekend, for the 4th time. As Linnea is back on the school Swim Squad, she had signed up, as had many of her squad mates. Over 1000 participants took part all together.

This is a mass participation swimming event and it offers many different distances, for all abilities. Linnea was doing the Junior Splash Dash 100 m race.
It was held on the grounds of the beautiful Emirates Palace, a perfect venue.

Linnea picked up her race pack and got her number done on her arm:

This years ambassador for the whole event was Sweden's first female swimming Olympic gold medalist Sarah Sjöström. She took a total of three medals at the latest Olympic games in Rio, and is also the current world record holder in 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle.

Of course we took the opportunity to have a photo with her!

We also had a photo with her manager, Christian Olsson, another Swedish athlete and Olympian medalist! He is a former high jump and triple jump athlete, who won a gold medal in triple jump in the Olympic Games in Athens 2004:

Linnea's race wasn't on until 10.40 so we had plenty of time to cheer on her other friends from Raha, participating in the longer races:

Here's Linnea with the rest of the silver caps, each distance had their own colour. They had to line up to get briefed on the route before setting off. It wasn't all that complicated luckily, as it was her first time doing a race in the sea, with a running start.

Ready to go, giving me a little nervous wave!

Off they went!!

Look at the backdrop for this race - the Breakwater, Marina Mall and the Abu Dhabi Corniche! Rather spectacular!

There she is, out of the water and racing up to get to the finish line!

She was rather pleased with herself, even though it was a very short race, it was her first ocean race. Quite a different experience to racing in a pool where you have a whole lane all to yourself.
She said she didn't like how the other people had kicked her in the face, how the water tasted or that she couldn't really see anything (swimming in pretty shallow water probably meant there was a lot of sand being whirled around) - but she liked coming up for the finish line and getting a medal!

Linnea and her half-South African/half-Swedish friends with their big medals and new t-shirts.
What a lovely morning!

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