My name is Charmian (Charm) Frend, grew up in a very small country NSW town called Gulargambone on a sheep, wheat and cattle farm called Barnagrotty. Not much water around but my brother and I became very good at swimming around our dams. My Nan lived at Freshwater beach so my first experience of ocean swimming was when my Dad used to take me out the back of the waves, throw me off his shoulders and say “righto swim back in”. I loved it and still do.
My long distance swimming challenges may have started from the early age of 9 when reaching the district level of school swimming, I faced my first 50m pool experience in the thriving metropolis, Coonamble. I was a little freaked out, “I can’t swim that far butterfly” (still can’t actually) but got in, gave it a go and finished.
In my early 20’s I started swimming at North Sydney Pool, I joined the Aussi Masters club and discovered 400’s / 800’s and 1500’s. It was here I also began my coaching career, helping out on pool deck when it was busy, over 20 years ago. I am now back at the club as a weekend coach.
I went to my first ocean swim ever with a few friends – the 1992 Palm to Whale. – I loved it, it was great swimming in that open environment – absolutely glorious. I began swimming in the ocean around Sydney and I’ve been fortunate to be able to swim around Cockatoo Island, out in the Harbour near the Opera House, from the Harbour Bridge to Manly, Bondi to Watsons Bay a couple of times, 10km around the beach at Manly, Warriewood to Mona Vale (a favourite) and even down in Gunnamatta bay near Cronulla.
Swimming then became an excuse to travel –
- Sept 1993 & 2007 – Maui and Waikiki – Highly recommended.
- 2004 – Vanuatu again with Oceanswims and friends from the Balmoral Beach Club.
- 2004 – Rottnest for a solo swim
- 2005 & 2006 – Fiji with the Oceanswims crew.
- 2007 – Lake Argyle near Kununurra at the top of WA to swim almost 25kms in fresh water with the Beach Club guys.
Hardest swim I’ve done to date. 2- 3 metre wind chop in fresh water – very challenging but a great feeling when finished. Byron Bay, Towoon Bay, Avoca, Forster, Canberra – 9km in Lake Burley Griffin which is surprisingly OK, Newcastle – the list goes on. A great way to see the sights and share them with people who enjoy the water as much as myself.
When I was having a break from swimming, I became more focused on the coaching side of open water and how I can help people to get the enjoyment out of swimming that I do. I was kicked into action when my friend Duncan (Adams) asked me to help him prepare for his English Channel Swim attempt this year. Travelling for swimming without getting wet was a new concept for me, but immensely enjoyable. He made a successful crossing in Sept 2010, I was able to pass on my experience and education, as a part of the team, that helped him succeed.
My main enjoyment in coaching is helping a swimmer improve their enjoyment of the water whether, you are training for a Channel attempt, Rottnest – team or solo, starting out in oceanswims, getting more out of your lap swimming, even as a form of rehabilitation or therapy or even learning how to swim. I believe that you should be relaxed in the water, apply good technique and above all enjoy it rather than fight it.
I would love to help you get as much enjoyment and happiness from swimming as I have and still do.