For Eli Ball, Saturday’s Rottnest Channel Swim was always going to be a bit out of the ordinary.
The Sydney lawyer, 34, was swimming the 19.7 kilometre ocean race in butterfly rather than the traditional freestyle, and admitted he attracted a lot of “quizzical looks” from others as the race got under way.
It was a calm day and his butterfly technique, as unusual as it seemed to others, allowed him to get a good look at the sea floor with every stroke.
About 12 kilometres into the race, Mr Ball told Radio 6PR he was swimming behind his support boat when he noticed a large shark swim underneath it.
“It was at the bottom of the sea floor; I’m not very good at estimating depths of water when I’m that far out to sea, but I’d say it was maybe 12 metres deep at that point,” he said.
“The thing that stuck out in my mind at the time… what I remember thinking to myself is, ‘my goodness it’s wide’, it was very, very wide,” he said.