View Full Version : Waikiki Rough Water Swim

July 29th, 2003, 05:54 PM
After about 8 years of not doing any open water swims, I found out that I'm going to be on Oahu (housesitting, no less) at the time of the Waikiki swim (2.4 miles) , so I'd like to take part.

I did a 1 1/2 mile swim over the weekend and found myself drifting first to one side then the other. In other words, I probably swam an extra 1/2 mile that I didn't need to.

I swim with a Master's swim team, competed at Nationals in Tempe so I'm in relatively good shape -- for pool swimming. But I've forgotten everything I ever learned about open water swimming.

Any suggestions about training, technique or the Waikiki swim would be helpful....thanks in advance.

July 30th, 2003, 10:31 PM
The swim is probably the best open water swim in the country from organization, location, competitiveness, and challenge. They start in waves so if you are not sure about your comfort in packs, you can just enter requesting a later wave.

The swim has lots of buoys--which are about every 400 yards, and there are enough swimmers that you can always look at the other swimmers and check what they are aiming for. If you are in Oahu beforehand, check out the start and finish before the day of the race. It helps.

The start can be tight because of coral, and the finish can also be complicated because the waves break outside and there is a boat channel pulling through the area you swim in through.

If you have a chance, try the swim. Good luck. Also, check out the swim website, they have some clinics beforehand, but I don't know when exactly.

clyde hedlund
September 4th, 2003, 06:25 AM
I can't help you at this late date, but I do hope you were one of the lucky ones to finish? For it is quite unbeliveable that out of nearly 1000 racers, only about a third finished. I belive this is the first time a swimming race made the front pages of the newspapers:




Perhaps like runners, bicyclists, and paddlers; we should include a little bit of hill climbing to our training routine?

September 4th, 2003, 09:40 AM
Yes, I actually did finish. I had been housesitting on Oahu for the week before and obsessing about the swim --whether I should do it or not. I was very concerned about the effects of the passing hurricane. But I showed up and started in the "D" wave.

I made it around the first turning buoy and aimed myself down towards the Hilton and then realized how strong the current was.

After the second buoy, I began to get very nervous when I found myself watching a patch of coral slip further and further away from me as I drifted backwards and I decided to go in so I headed to shore and that strong current lightened up. I kept swimming -- across the reefs and right through the lineups of the surf breaks. I surf all these spots so I know them reasonably well and frankly, it was comforting being in conditions (surf, breaking waves, around other surfers) that I knew.

But then I had to head back out again to the last turning buoy and that's when progress just about stopped again. One of the resuce paddler boarders came up to me and said that the race was over and that most people didn't finish. I was so close to the finish at this point that I decided to complete the swim.

The paddler said he would stay with me and when I stopped once more to rest, he said the finish time would be extended and that I would make it.

This was my first Waikiki Rough Water swim and it took me 2 hours and 48 minutes! I thought I'd be finished in about 1 hr 30 min. I wasn't the last woman to finish, but close to it. I'm pretty sure I was the oldest woman to finish. I'm 59 and in the 55-59 year age group.

What saved me, no doubt, was my wuss-like nature, that sent me in close to shore. I wanted to be able to get out if I got too scared. From what I read, that was about the only course to take if you were in the later starts.


clyde hedlund
September 9th, 2003, 02:12 PM
Congratulations on your 3rd place finish in a real rough water swim race (finally). Your surfing background came in handy because (no wuss here) you were actually not afraid to head towards the surfzone to try and tuck inside the current. Never swim into the current - just zigzag or tack through it (changing directions frequently) feeling your way up hill. With a time of almost 3 hrs., you were not only in great physical shape, but mentally prepared as well. My only recommendation is to xtrain on a paddleboard and pre-run the course several times on it, so you can get a feel of the water. Tide charts and calendars are readily available - and so are the weather reports. Perhaps, if same conditions prevail in the future, the race officials might consider reversing the race course, and that would be a lot of fun going downhill? clyde

September 9th, 2003, 11:26 PM
Thanks for the kind words. I was out the next day surfing at Pop's (one of the breaks I swam through ) hardly believing it was the same piece of water that I was in the day before. I still can't figure out how I did what I did.


September 10th, 2003, 02:19 AM
Congratulations Glenda! You are an inspiration, and quite remarkable!

clyde hedlund
September 10th, 2003, 02:42 PM
Compared to a few vocal swimmers who dnf and are blaming the race officials for their outcome, you got what it takes. After an hour, the race becomes a mental game and you won it. My respect and admiration goes to all the kids who finished and are not complaining. Now you can prepare yourself for the Double Rough Water Swim (almost the same course, but you finish where you started) in the winter. There are similar strong winter currents too, but at least you get to take advantage of them on the return (when you just fly back). Funny thing though, no one complains about the current in the double rough, which maybe is due to the upscale level of competition? clyde

clyde hedlund
September 16th, 2003, 05:34 AM
Perhaps yesterday's article in The Honolulu Advertiser: "Swimmers: Avoid trouble by studying currents" by Michael Tsai should be of some value to future open ocean swimmers:


If this link doesn't work, just go to the Honolulu Advertiser back editions of Sep 15, go to the "Island Life Section" and click the article. Check-out the Graphics too: "Ocean Swimming: be prepared. Maybe more swimmers might have finished if they had heeded some of this info? clyde

clyde hedlund
September 16th, 2003, 05:39 AM
Sorry, let me type in that link again:


If still doesn't work follow instructions of previous post. clyde

clyde hedlund
September 26th, 2003, 03:25 PM
Since an Aussie won this years race, perhaps it is time to adopt the swimming techniques used by Australian Surf Lifesavers in their swim training, rescues and competition. The Waikiki Rough Water Race is pretty tame compared to the swim races the surf lifesavers compete in. clyde

clyde hedlund
October 16th, 2003, 04:14 PM
I just heard that the Waikiki DOUBLE Rough Water Swim Race is set for December 7th? If anyone knows of the website with more info on this race, please let us know. clyde