Battling a 25 knot south westerly wind, a two metre swell and shark infested waters may not seem like everyone’s idea of a fun day at the beach, however, Lieutenant Kiri Nothdurft faced the challenge head on.
Lieutenant Nothdurft, a Maritime Geospatial Officer – Meterology, based at HMAS Stirling, was at Cottesloe Beach to participate in the 25th Anniversary Rottnest Channel Swim. The swim is an annual 19.7 kilometre open water swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island of the Western Australian coast.
Recently returning to work, post maternity leave, Lieutenant Nothdurft was motivated to participate in the event as she wanted to raise the awareness of post-natal depression and raise funds for the charity Beyond Blue.
“Almost 10 percent of women will experience depression during pregnancy and this increases to 16 percent in the first three months after having a baby,” Lieutenant Nothdurft said.
“I consider myself lucky that I didn’t experience post-natal depression. I say lucky, because post natal depression does not discriminate.”
Lieutenant Nothdurft entered this year’s event as a solo competitor along with a record number of entries. She took to the water at 6.05 am and was up against the odds faced with strong winds and huge swells. As well as battling fatigue, she was also battling sea sickness, however this did not deter her from continuing. Over 40 individual swimmers retired, and one support boat sank in the adverse conditions.
After an exhausting 8 hours and 45 minutes in the water and covering a distance of 22.5 kilometres, including three kilometres longer than the official distance, due to the conditions, Lieutenant Nothdurft finally stood up atThompson’s Bay, Rottnest Island, and ran across the line to the cheering of friends and family.
Supporting her on the day was her husband, and Navy Legal Officer, Lieutenant Kim Glisenti.
"I am so proud of Kiri's efforts, especially considering that she has jus come off maternity leave, the courage she displayed to just keep swimming was amazing!" he said.
Lieutenant Nothdurft said that she drew upon her experience and determination as a Naval Officer and former competitive endurance swimmer to complete the channel swim.
She raised over $1,000 for the charity - the money will go to supporting new mothers suffering from post natal depression.