The West

Bill McKenzie may swim a bit slower than he used to but his will to compete in the Rottnest Channel Swim is as strong as ever.

The Kalgoorlie lawyer will attempt his 11th solo crossing next month. He first took part in the 19.7km challenge in 1996, aged 43.

The following year he finished fifth in the men's division and 10th overall.

These days the 59-year-old's focus is on finishing, rather than racing the clock.

"When you get to my age, if you can manage to do it, you just have to do it," he said. "The race is not so much a physical challenge but a mental one.

"You have to get your head right and if your head is not right, then you won't make it."

Mr McKenzie usually battles sea sickness for more than half the race.

He swims 40-50km a week to prepare and tries to put the fear of sharks and stingers out of his mind.

"If you're going to have a crack at the swim, you need to believe there is no such thing as a shark," he said.

"There is a great sense of satisfaction when you walk up the beach at Rottnest. I enjoy the day and a cold beer when I get there."

The West Australian

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