'Feels like a dream': Peel swimming legend inducted into Australian hall of fame

Barbara Pellick had her outstanding career in the water recognised when she was inducted into the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame earlier this month.

The Coolup-based stalwart has spent a lifetime in the water, and now finds herself in the company of the very heroes that inspired her in the hall of fame.

For Pellick, it's something that still hasn't quite sunk in.

"I'm still coming to terms with it, really," she said.

"To sit alongside names like Des Renford, Penny Palfrey... that's just such an honour.

"It feels like a dream."

Barbara Pellick. Photo: Supplied.

Barbara Pellick. Photo: Supplied.

But while Pellick's modesty might have her pinching herself, her induction into the hall of fame isn't actually hard to believe at all.

Her list of achievements stretches longer than the distances she swims, and she holds an extensive collection of WA records.

Most notably, she's conquered the Rottnest Channel Swim a whopping 30 times.

Her love affair with the Rotto began back in 1993, having nominated for the epic challenge in a bid to get fit.

Reminiscing on her debut, she remembers herself as a "naive 28-year-old."

"I kept thinking I was right near the finish line, and I honestly couldn't have been more wrong," Pellick laughs as she recalls.

"I was just so sore by the end of it."

That didn't stop her proclaiming her intent to become the first ever female to pull off a double-crossing the following year, a feat she promptly achieved.

"I was standing on the beach and told a few people I'd be doing the double next year," she said.

"The organisers looked at me a bit cock-eyed, but I stuck to my training and we got it done."

But while she may be known as the Queen of the Rottnest, Pellick has accomplished much more than what her backyard has to offer.

In 1995 she took on the famous English Channel swim, tackling the cold and choppy conditions to conquer the 34km challenge.

Five years later she was off to the United States as she bested the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, before returning to America in 2013 for the Catalina Channel Swim.

Pellick became just the 75th person to complete all three of these international swims, an achievement known as the Triple Crown of marathon swimming.

"My time in swimming has been beyond rewarding," she said.

"But even without the achievements, anyone who competes in distance swimming does it for the love of it.

"Yeah, it sucks sometimes. The training is hard, it can be exhausting and it's tough work pushing yourself all the time, but you just can't beat the rush you feel when you feet reach the shore."

Pellick is now giving back to the sport that has given her so much, training her own swimming squad out of the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.