View Full Version : Experience with OW cable swims

August 8th, 2013, 08:25 PM
This year I will be swimming my first cable swim at Betsy Owens in Lake Placid (well, Mirror Lake to be precise). Just curious on your experiences in this format, what you liked or might change the next time you swim a cable race.

Thanks for your help! :bow:

Chris Stevenson
August 9th, 2013, 10:34 AM
That's a really nice venue, gorgeous scenery. I've done it twice before there and really enjoyed it; the organizers have been doing it for awhile so they have it down to a science.

It isn't really much different than a non-cable swim. The water is very clear in this lake so they can submerge the cable, but it is still visible. You can certainly use it for sighting, which is helpful; however you still have swimmers all around you so you have to be aware of them. There will be waves of 10 or 15 (I forget which) separated by 30 seconds I think; the first wave will be the fastest, and so on.

It will take the fastest swimmers about 10 min to do one "lap" around the course, so they will start passing people probably sometime during their third lap. Practically speaking, depending on your speed, that means either you will be passing people a lot slower than you, or there will be some people whizzing by you (sometimes pretty close) during the swim. Since the slowest wave will likely consist of older swimmers, you need to be careful when passing; they won't see you and you might come upon them pretty quickly. I find that most of the sighting I have to do is more to avoid swimmers than anything else.

The turnaround is 180 degrees, and if you haven't done that much on other courses it is worth practicing. Some people get pretty good at it. Check out this post:

http://www.vaswim.org/2012/06/sharpe...n-water-swims/ (http://www.vaswim.org/2012/06/sharper-turns-in-open-water-swims/)

It can get a little crowded during the turns sometimes. Don't try to pass people during the turns; if you get stuck behind someone slower than you, just do a little breaststroke and take a very quick rest during the turn. You'll get back to regular swimming soon enough.

August 13th, 2013, 06:44 PM
Thanks for the advice, Chris. I had not thought about the congestion around the turn buoys or passing later in the race - very good points.