Barbara Pellick has a lot to thank Cottesloe Beach for.
One of Perth’s famous landmarks has sent the 52-year-old on a worldwide journey, from Rottnest, to Europe, to New York, and even Gloucester Park on a Friday night.
Pellick has set off from Cottesloe Beach an incredible 27 times to swim to Rottnest, and also made the return journey to Perth to make it 28 channel crossings, a record that is unmatched.
Cottesloe Beach has also given Pellick the title of a Group 1 winning Standardbred owner.
Cott Beach, trained by Kristy Elson, has stamped herself as one of the leading three-year-old fillies in Western Australia, recording wins in last year’s Group 1 Westbred Fillies Two-Year-Old Pace and the Champagne Classic.
“Last year was the best year anyone could have imagined,” Pellick said.
“Cott Beach has done a really good job.”
Pellick has always had the racing bug. Her husband has trained Standardbreds for 30 years, while her Great Grandfather served on the first committee of the West Australian Trotting Association.
Pellick’s 28 Rottnest Channel swims, as well as an English Channel swim and a Manhattan Island Marathon swim brought about the name Cott Beach.
She is now enjoying the ride that could see the Advance Attack filly win a WA Oaks.
“We’ve owned a lot of horses, but she is our first really good one,” she said.
“We always try to go and watch her race.
“We go and give her a hug and a kiss.”
Pellick competed in the Rottnest Channel swim individually for the first time in 1993 and she said it was then she fell in love with open water swimming.
“I remember the first one I did in 1993 and it was going to be my last, because it was so tough,” she said.
“I then backed up with the double channel swim in 1994, and everything led from that.
“The English Channel swim is the pinnacle in the swimming world because it is the hardest, furthest and coldest...I did that in 1995.
“I did the Manhattan Island swim in 2000, and has a reputation for having strong currents and dirty water.
“It was the best swim of my career.”
There will be a different feel around this weekend’s Rottnest Channel Swim, where Pellick won’t be there facing the starter, instead she will have a different role to play at Rottnest on the day.
Pellick will take part in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton relay, where she will carry the baton on part of its journey around the Island.
She will still have the chance to cross the channel for the 29th time though, when she competes at in another channel swim next month.
A 30th swim is also on the agenda, but in the short term her eyes are firmly fixed on how Cott Beach performs in the Chinese Cup (2130m) at Gloucester Park tomorrow night.
“She is in good form,” she said.
“She is still a couple of weeks away from her best.
“Coming out of barrier nine is always hard…a lot comes down to the draw at Gloucester Park.
“To have a forward showing in the WA Oaks is her goal.”
Pellick has made waves of her own in what has been a career full of unique achievements, and her star filly now gets the chance to make a splash.