‘Paddla’medics’ do St John proud in Rottnest Swim
- A four-person team of St John WA Paramedics completed the Rottnest Swim in 2023, telling their story in a series of social media posts,
- The team credited the camaraderie fostered through gruelling hours of training in the water with building strong friendships and improving mental health,
- The ‘Paddla’medics’ achieved a personal best time of 7hrs and 13mins.
Being a first responder can be stressful, so how does one unwind?
For four St John paramedics, it’s about getting together to train and compete in WA’s most gruelling and iconic open-water race.
The ‘Paddla’medics’ are a team consisting of paramedic swimmers and crew.
Jeremy Anderberg, Daniel Mason, Andrew Wishart, and Gary Cook have been part of the ‘Paddla’medics’ team on and off for more than four years, training hard for months to be ready for the famous 19.7-kilometre open-water race.
Last year, the team was unable to finish due to weather conditions changing for the worse mid-race, but this year, the team was determined to make amends and achieve their simple goal – to finish as a team.
The St John team in green was able to exceed their expectations, successfully completing this year’s race in a personal best time of 7 hours and 13 minutes.
For Mr Anderberg, this race was not just about fitness, but was also an opportunity to bond and unwind from the stresses of the job.
“I like a fitness challenge,” he said. “I think that’s a really big part of it, especially when you’re doing this job, you’ve got to keep yourself fit.
“But we’ve also got a fairly mentally straining job as well, so you need time to unwind, to calm down and relax and just think over some of the thoughts of the day or jobs that you’ve done and things like that.
“For me, getting in the pool or looking at the ocean when you’re doing a couple of laps or kilometres is the best way to get out of your own head and relax a little.”
After achieving their goal in this year’s race, the team is already looking forward to participating again next year.
“I think this is a great thing to do; the kind of sport you can do to keep yourself mentally motivated and physically fit.” Mr Anderberg said.
“We just love getting together and having a laugh,” team mate Andrew Wishart said.
“It’s a bit of fun.”
St John operates a leading Wellbeing and Support program available 24/7 to its 2000 paid personnel and 6000 volunteers and eligible family members. The program provides access to professional care through a wide network of clinical and registered psychologists.