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ekw
May 25th, 2013, 01:25 PM
Has anyone here done the Swim the Suck 10 miler in Chattanooga? There is something about this race that really appeals to me and has since I learned about it last fall, which is odd because until very recently (as in last Sunday (5/19) - Pensacola 3 Mile Bridge Swim - ~3.3 miles factoring in getting to the finish area, I think) I was essentially a pool swimmer only. I really enjoyed that swim, despite the repeated mouth- and sinus-filling walls of water in my face and extremely limited sighting skills (fortunately, keeping a large bridge on my left was well within my abilities).

At this point, the earliest I could conceivably do the race would be in October 2014, but I'm wondering what sort of open water experience I should get under my belt before making a reasonable decision regarding my competence for this race. It seems to me that since this is a current-aided course it would feel a bit shorter than 10 miles. I would also think that because it's a river swim it would be less choppy than the bay experience was last week. However, it's still considerably longer than the roughly 5k swim I've done.

Advice?

thewookiee
May 25th, 2013, 09:28 PM
If you can do the pensacola bay swim, then you will be able to do the Suck. The swim is down stream, with a current. The current depends on how much water TVA is letting out from the upstream dams.

The event is well organized by Karah Nazor. Every swimmer has a kayak escort, as well as 3-4 motorized boats. One boat is in front of the pack, one in the middle, and one in the rear. The coast guard also has a boat involved in front of the event to let approaching boats, esp. barges know what is going on.

Swimmers in the event range from all levels. This year, an Olympic gold medalist from the 1996 games is signed-up. There is also a pool only swimmer, who's best event is the 50 free, doing it for the first time. I am going to kayak for him during the event. I have told him that if he becomes the last swimmer, I will run the kayak over him until the finish for taking so long.

The time limit is usually 5 or 6 hours. Everyone the past 3 years that has finished the event has made the time with no problem.


The day before the event, the pre-race dinner is made by a number of volunteers. They do a great job with the food. The weather this past year was overcast and rainy for a bit of the swim. The water temp. was a littler cooler than previous years, so pencil neck bodies(i.e. Jeff Roddin or Geek) got cold pretty quickly.

I believe the 2013 swim has been moved up a few weeks in attempt to have a bit warmer water.

If you are going to do it in 2014, sign-up the day the event opens. There are limited spots and they go faster than the distance day at CZ zones.

torsinadoc
May 27th, 2013, 04:14 PM
when does 2014 registration open? I tried this year in 1/13 but was already full.

thewookiee
May 27th, 2013, 05:36 PM
when does 2014 registration open? I tried this year in 1/13 but was already full.

Don't know for sure. Sometime after the event this year, I would say after Thanksgiving but I can ask Karah.

mjtyson
May 28th, 2013, 09:36 PM
Registration normally opens 1 Jan and fills in a few hours. I'll do it this year for the second time. Wonderful event and a great time.

Franco P
May 29th, 2013, 03:35 PM
I have done Swim the Suck several times. One of my favorites. I would suggest signing up on 1/1/14 and doing the 10K at Pensacola next May as well. If you can handle that 10K, Swim the Suck should be reasonable. The year I did Pensacola 10K, it was a double crossing. I am not sure if set up/course is still the same, but it was pretty challenging that year.

Chattanooga is a great place to swim and visit. (Pensacola is pretty nice too)

ekw
May 29th, 2013, 04:36 PM
Yes, the Pensacola 10k is a double crossing. That more than distance is what makes it somewhat unappealing to me, but I think you are right that I should do it before Swim the Suck. One of the things that appeals to me about Swim the Suck is that it's not a loop or a double crossing. I like novelty!

jgale
June 3rd, 2013, 08:22 PM
I doing the Suck for the first time this year. I have done some five mile swims along with Chesapeake Bay (the 4.4 mile race) three times. I am looking forward to it but a a little nervous.

ALLISONWARE
June 9th, 2013, 11:06 AM
You'll be fine. I swam it last year & will be swimming it again this year. Likewise, I know many others who have swam it too, with widely varying levels of experience & speed. My longest open water swim/race prior to the race last year was a few 5ks that I had done throughout the year (& years prior). I also only have the opportunity to train in open water once a week. For reference, I finished 12th overall, so it's totally doable & enjoyable!

Karah puts on a great event & the entire experience - from pre- to post-race festivities, the food, escorts & volunteers - is excellent. Given the speed of sell-out this year & the rapidly increasing popularity, I think she'll probably be changing the entry methodology, since she mentioned the possibility of doing so last year as well. There's a Facebook page I'd suggest checking out.

East Tennessee in the fall can't be beaten & it's a great river to swim in. We just raced the Chattanooga Rat Race yesterday, a 4.5mi downriver swim just a ways upstream from where the Suck starts. Another great experience & good swim, though the new sanction costs are causing hardship & the future of that race is in question. I'd definitely recommend it as well for anyone wanting to get a feel for the Tennessee river prior to taking on the Suck.

mjtyson
June 13th, 2013, 11:09 AM
StS is my favorite race (so far). The location is incredible. The river is awesome. And hopefully this year we'll get an even greater push from current (can't get much less of a current than last year).

The after party is awesome too. The beer and food are great. The objet d'art that we get is worth all the effort!

ekw
June 13th, 2013, 11:13 AM
You'll be fine. I swam it last year & will be swimming it again this year. Likewise, I know many others who have swam it too, with widely varying levels of experience & speed. My longest open water swim/race prior to the race last year was a few 5ks that I had done throughout the year (& years prior). I also only have the opportunity to train in open water once a week. For reference, I finished 12th overall, so it's totally doable & enjoyable!

Karah puts on a great event & the entire experience - from pre- to post-race festivities, the food, escorts & volunteers - is excellent. Given the speed of sell-out this year & the rapidly increasing popularity, I think she'll probably be changing the entry methodology, since she mentioned the possibility of doing so last year as well. There's a Facebook page I'd suggest checking out.

East Tennessee in the fall can't be beaten & it's a great river to swim in. We just raced the Chattanooga Rat Race yesterday, a 4.5mi downriver swim just a ways upstream from where the Suck starts. Another great experience & good swim, though the new sanction costs are causing hardship & the future of that race is in question. I'd definitely recommend it as well for anyone wanting to get a feel for the Tennessee river prior to taking on the Suck.

I almost made the trip up there for the Rat Race, but I'm out of town twice in June and that made it just too much time away from home.