Linda Coventry Overcomes Type 1 challenges & completes 19.7km Rottnest Island Swim

Before Linda’s epic swim… Hi Allan Fantastic program, I really enjoyed it. I’ve completed all your modules and of course I now have more questions. I am training for the Rottnest Island swim solo crossing (19.7 km), on 25 Feb 2014. At present I am training M to F (0530) and swimming between 3 - 4.5 km. On a Sat (0600) I am swimming 8 km and trying to swim with food and insulin and I am not enjoying it.

A great post race email… Hi Allan, Success!
6 hrs 58 minutes or thereabouts, I was aiming for under 7hrs. I swam with my pump, left the basal rate as normal and drank ½ strength Gatorade and ate bananas along the way – I didn’t need any extra insulin. Pre-race BSL was 18 and then the rest all between 5 – 8. Thank you for your advice and good luck phone call. Cheers, Linda.”

Linda Coventry

“You can’t find this practical, physical problem solving knowledge in text books, it only comes from lived experience like yours.”

After the job was done… Allan, I’d like to thank you for all your assistance with how to manage my insulin and complete a 19.7 km solo swim from Cottesloe to Rottnest Island in WA. My diabetic team at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital initially told me about your website and your education modules. They were amazingly helpful especially to assist with the constant hypo’s I was suffering after exercise.

Up until talking with you I was still unsure how to manage the solo crossing. I am a pump user; however for my training sessions I would usually have a small insulin dose to cover basal insulin and then remove the pump.

I had no idea how to secure and swim with the pump. I was also unsure how to deliver intermittent bolus insulin, eat and swim for up to a possible 9-hour period. In the past I have done the crossing as a member of a team and I was advised to go back on long-acting insulin the night before the event – this resulted in loads of hypos for the next 24 hours after the event. So I was not keen to do that again.

“I thought there must be a better way… Your advice on where to place my pump, plan for infusion set failures and how to swim with my pump on, as well as titrate my basal rate to cover my food and drink while swimming was fantastic. You can’t find this practical, physical problem solving knowledge in text books, it only comes from lived experience like yours.”

rotnest swim start

Start - Rottnest Island Channel Swim 19.7km

I also had to do a 10km swim to qualify for the event – consisting of 4 laps of a 2.5km circuit in the ocean. I disconnected my pump and gave intermittent bolus insulin for this event.

At breakfast I had a normal BSL, however pre-race my BSL jumped to 18. I did not have a paddler with me and every 2.5km I had to swim into shore, check my BSL, give bolus insulin and eat and drink. For the whole race my BSL remained 17 – 18, I was too scared to give too much insulin as I was essentially swimming alone in the ocean. I was absolutely shattered on completing the event. And thought there must be a better way…

Your advice on where to place my pump, plan for infusion set failures and how to swim with my pump on, as well as titrate my basal rate to cover my food and drink while swimming was fantastic. You can’t find this practical, physical problem solving knowledge in text books, it only comes from lived experience like yours. Getting my insulin levels right took quite a bit of practice, I did a long swim every Saturday morning (up to 4 hours) to work out the correct rate.

The solo swim was successful and I completed it in 6 hrs 59 minutes. I swam with my pump and left basal insulin as normal, my BSL at 0400 was 7, I ate a massive breakfast and gave normal insulin, BSL at 0530 was 18, then at 0700, 0800 & 0900 all around 8, at 1100 6.9 and at race end 1300 it was 5.4. I ate well after the event and had no hypos. I drank 1/2 strength gatorade and my paddler threw banana bites at me at regular intervals, probably ate 3 bananas over the course of the swim and I did not need to give any extra insulin.

My paddler was excellent; she is my next door neighbour and is married to a Type 1 diabetic. She kept me on track with eating and drinking and was extremely diligent in checking my BSL. Overall I’d like to thank you Allan for your advice and your good luck phone call pre-event. Linda.

Share This