IAN McPhail’s preparation for the Shipwreck Coast Swim Series has been “hit and miss”.
His training regime started with promise before a shoulder injury all but eliminated what gains he had made.
But there was no chance the setback — which he is yet to totally recover from — would keep him from continuing an impressive streak.
Despite the injury, he will line up in tomorrow’s Tony Ryan memorial race in Warrnambool’s Lady Bay.
McPhail, a 57-year-old Warrnambool paramedic, is one of just four swimmers who have contested all 22 races as part of the series.
He has competed in every series event since 2005 — at Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Port Campbell — while a one-off event at Peterborough a few years back adds to the tally.
“I just enjoy the training each year to get ready for it. It’s part of my lifestyle fitness program,” he said.
That program started while he was holidaying in Vietnam in July.
He made the most of the hotel pool and started training for the series earlier than usual. And he was feeling fit.
“I thought I was in better condition than I was,” he said. “I came back to Australia and raced fast against people in the pool and hurt my shoulder.
“I had to have two months off, go back to the gym, go to the physio, get it worked on.
“I’ve only just come back to swimming without any pain in the shoulder.
“As you get older it seems you have to be a bit more careful with shoulders in case they fall apart.”
McPhail said the Shipwreck Coast Swim Series was one of his highlights on the south-west sporting calendar.
“I used to be in the surf club a long time ago and I used to be a competitor in their carnivals around the place,” he said.
“I was a reasonable swimmer and it was a good opportunity to swim with a big group of people and have a fun day and a good session.”