View Full Version : Unethical manuever

July 10th, 2005, 06:06 PM
Yesterday I swam the 2 mile pier to pier at Newport Beach. This was not my first open water swim. I have done many of them. However, yesterday was the first time I encountered such a disturbing experience.

There were 240 people in the race. Of course there was the usual bumping, clobbering, smacking, kicking, and pulling that goes on when ever this many swimmers are converging on one point. Anyone who has ever done an open water swim is used to this. But yesterday a male swimmer actually grabbed me from behind the neck, pushed me down under the water, and then kicked me in the head in order to swim over me. When I say he grabbed me by the neck -- I mean GRABBED HARD. This was not an accident, but a purposeful manuever to get ahead. When I came up for air I was pounded by the swimmer behind me (also a male) who actually apologized.

I finished the swim and I will do more of them. I am still stunned though and my neck hurts today. I am not so naive as to think this kind of stuff never happens, I guess I'm just blown away because it actually happened to me and I was not in any way in competition with this guy.

Thanks for letting me vent.


July 10th, 2005, 06:15 PM
Unbelievable! I'm glad you're okay and ready to swim another open water.

July 10th, 2005, 06:58 PM
Thanks! Appreciate your words. Life and swimming go on.

July 10th, 2005, 08:54 PM
Originally posted by irreklg
But yesterday a male swimmer actually grabbed me from behind the neck, pushed me down under the water, and then kicked me in the head in order to swim over me. When I say he grabbed me by the neck -- I mean GRABBED HARD. This was not an accident, but a purposeful manuever to get ahead.

This bears all the signs of "when waterpolo players go bad". Be sure to sharpen your nails for the next race...toe nails too!

Sorry to hear about your experience, there's nothing more terrifying than being pulled under,... especially when you're breathing very hard. Somehow, somewhere...karma will find it's way back to this jerk.

July 11th, 2005, 09:51 AM

I did the Newport Pier2Pier last year, and it was really fun. I had gone to California to watch the Olympic Trials and did it while I was there. I am shocked, though, at the behavior of that jerk! What an idiot. I hope Valhallan is right - he will get his. What goes around comes around. I am glad you are not totally turned off OWS - I love it too, and the bug has definitely caught me! Good luck on your next swim.

Keep on swimming!

July 11th, 2005, 11:01 AM
It has only happened once to me and the other guy did not finish the race. I have seen some pretty rough stuff when I raced but every one stayed clear of me.

The worst thing that happened to me was at the finish of a swim there was a log boom that every one was to swim around and a swimmer behind me cut off about 400 yards by going over the boom and won an extra $2000 by beating me out to the finish. I met the other swimmer later and was paid the money after I showed a little anger.

Now don't get me wrong I was always known as Mr Nice guy but I did get a little rilled once in a while. This is written about in the Conrad Wennerberg book, "Wind Waves and Sunburn", a breif history of Marathon Swimming.

July 11th, 2005, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
This is written about in the Conrad Wennerberg book, "Wind Waves and Sunburn", a breif history of Marathon Swimming.

wow! I just put that book in my shopping cart!

irreklg, that must have been a terribly frightening experience. I'm glad to hear your reaction is to get back on the horse. Out of 240 swimmers, it takes only one to give you a bad bump. What a creep! I'm just wondering if he did the same to other swimmers during the race, and got back some of his medicine. He needs a lesson.

Question: if you get the number of a badly behaved swimmer like this one, can you report him/her to the judges?

July 11th, 2005, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by Maryyyyyy
wow! I just put that book in my shopping cart! Mary please don't believe everything he says about me it is only half true.

July 11th, 2005, 04:50 PM
There are a couple of threads about this sort of stuff on this Open Water board... I'm fascinated by it, because I'll be doing my first open water swim next month. I have plenty of reason to believe that I will be going into this swim quite naive... These threads help me conceptualize what I might encounter.

Question: do "larger" people have less tendency to be hassled like this? I'm 6'6", 240 lbs. I take up a lot of space. I suspect I'll be a little harder than the average bear to dunk. Of course, if I swim the fastest, this all becomes a moot point when nobody can catch me... :D

July 11th, 2005, 05:24 PM
Get the ugly look on and flex those muscles, or if you don't intend to win move to the sidelines. Let the others go ahead and try to catch them. I was lucky I could sprint out and very few could stay with me, I would go hard for 300 meters than set into race pace. I would go those first 300 meters in about 3:10.

July 11th, 2005, 09:02 PM
I am guilty of swimming in more than a few triathlons, and the start is always a bit unnerving. You have to be very watchful of the person in front because you don't want someone's foot flailing away near your face.

Being a swimmer I've always edged towards the beginning of the line up so there weren't too many people to negotiate for the first few minutes. (Runners and cyclists tend to fade out after the first hundred yards anyway.... then you can spot the swimmers.)

Physical size can be helpful to ward off the frenzied ones as they vie for pole position. I'm only a medium size at 6'-3 and 190 lbs...compared to your pro football stats Guvnah. You should have no problem...no ugly look necessary. (That's pretty funny George.) Just be gentle...someone could get injured around you.:)

July 11th, 2005, 10:45 PM
Thanks everybody for your supportive and funny statements. They definitely help heal the "wound."

I would bet that the bigger you are the less likely someone would try to take you down. I actually have long fingernails, but it would never have occurred to me to use them as retaliation. Hmmmmmm. I did try to grab on to his leg, not to get back at him really, but more to make him turn around so I could see his face. I couldn't think fast enough to get a good grip and then got bonked from behind anyway so what are ya gonna do. Believe me Mary, I would have reported him if I could have identified him.

I have to say, especially to you Guvnah, that for me this was a rare experience and I have done many open water swims. The first I ever did I just stood in the back (out of fear) and went out slowly and cautiously. But I ended up passing so many people that I decided to take my chances and get out there with the bolder swimmers as I did more races. I guess you just need to find your comfort zone and you will with each race.

I think this guy has surely done this before and I am sure karma will meet up with him at some point. But someone like this probably won't ever get the message even if it screams at him. You know? Disturbed people who put winning ahead of someone's safety are too far gone.

The best way to beat him is not to let him stop me. I am doing Seal Beach this coming weekend and hopefully it will be the usual rewarding experience.

Thanks again!


July 11th, 2005, 11:13 PM

You have a wonderful attitude. Hope you have a great race.


Aside from collegiate swimming, I played water polo and know all about the atrocities that occur beneath the surface. We can only hope that "man-hands" and people like him who pull women underwater will change their ways...or get mistaken for a seal dinner by a passing great white.

debby golob
July 12th, 2005, 07:11 PM
I have had open water experiences similar in tri events, goggles pulled off, half wet suits pulled down etc. it seems like a battle out there. Once i swam a 5k swim for the world masters games in the montreal basin and my competitor and i where side by side for the win for the whole 5k race it was misery, punches and pulling, cornering the bouys where the worst, guess it goes with open water race.

July 12th, 2005, 09:45 PM
Val you are so funny. "Mr. Man-Hands!" That was great. I think I could recognize him from the back so maybe I should stand behind him at the start and hold on to his suit when the gun goes off. Could be funny -- unless of course I got the wrong guy.


Ken Classen
July 14th, 2005, 03:14 PM

I swam the race last Saturday as well. I would call the start the World Wrestling Federation meets swimming. Before the race started I all ready knew it was going to be bad news. Having that first turn buoy just 50 yards off the beach with 250 swimmers was not the best course management. I moved to the far right side for the start, I knew I had to swim further but I wanted to stay away from the melee as best I could. The drawback of that was I had to pass a lot of swimmers after the turn. One trick Iíve learned is grease up the body not for warmth but as a kind of swimmer repellant. Most swimmers let go in a hurry if they get hand full of Vaseline. A good friend of mine swam as well I he ended up getting punched. He let go a few #**@ at the other swimmer. He knew the race director and let him know that buoy was not in a good place. You need at least 300 to 400 yards to let swimmers spread out before you force them to turn. Anyway Iím 6Ē1í and 215 so I donít mind a little bumping and overall I had fun time and a good race.

Ken Classen
July 14th, 2005, 08:15 PM
Da, Did I say I moved to my right I mean my other right (left). The turn buoy was a right hand turn.

July 14th, 2005, 09:12 PM
Hey Ken,

Thanks for posting. Glad you had fun and a good race. You were smart to start to the left. I was more to the right looking for the shortest distance between two points. The "event" took place shortly after the turn -- maybe 200 yards or so from the start. Still a madhouse at that point. I agree with the idea of the turn at a greater distance from the start. I would guess they don't want the swimmers too far from shore. As you know, not everyone in the race is is fast or competitive, so a greater distance from shore adds a bit of danger I suppose.

Hope to meet you at Seal Beach or Corona Del Mar this summer. I'll standing a little bit away from the big boys next time.


July 15th, 2005, 11:51 AM
irreklg! I thought of you yesterday evening! My masters team played our annual waterpolo match - one of those extremely friendly affairs played by completely innept swimmers trying to manuver a ball in the water :D

Well, yeah, you probably already guessed it... I got a ball SMASHED into my face by a dude (WHAT a gentleman!) and I saw stars! Broke my upper lip, which puffed way up leading to such funny comments from my teammates about my sudden silicone implants (ha ha). Today I am very sore. My face is bruised all over! What a stupid game!

Of course, my first thought was, "DARN! Am I going to be able to do that 2KM race on Sunday?!?!?!?"

I think I will, but I skipped workout today because I don't think I should wear goggles yet. I've got about 40 hours to recover for the race.


July 15th, 2005, 12:04 PM
Waterpolo - The Survival of the Fittest, sharp nails, sharp elbows and tear away swim suits. Blood in the pool, my brother Thurlow the enforcer. Skipped balls... Wow I dream of the past. Trips to Montreal for the Canadian Championships. The riot at our pool in Hamilton when we played the 1956 Hungarian Olympic team. The suspension of our team for a few games. The hungarian audience, our team fighting them in the stands after they pulled our coach from behind our net into the stands and pounding on him. These are great memmories??? Thanks Maryyyy for mentioning Waterpolo

July 15th, 2005, 08:16 PM
Oh Mary, I'm so sorry! That sounds pretty horrific and painful. I thought you said the game was "friendly"?!?!?! Wow!

Last year at the La Jolla OWS I got kicked in the mouth accidently during the scramble at the start. Mine was not nearly as bad as your injury, but my mouth swelled up even so. My friend has been calling me "lips" ever since. We still laugh about it. I hope you can laugh (although I imagine even smiling is pretty painful for you at this point) about this some day. Maybe next year you should wear a face mask! I hope you feel better soon!!! And that you are able to swim this Sunday.

The best to you this weekend.


PS -- My husband and I LOVE your city. We hope to get back there soon.

July 17th, 2005, 08:01 PM
You all make polo sound so brutal. I played for 6 seasons in high school and college; and the worst injury I got a few scratches from a girl playing for an opposing team (this was before they started having girl's polo teams in my area).

July 17th, 2005, 08:37 PM
Originally posted by F'ueco
You all make polo sound so brutal. I played for 6 seasons in high school and college; and the worst injury I got a few scratches from a girl playing for an opposing team (this was before they started having girl's polo teams in my area). If you read this story it was not all that pleasant. This is the team we played in Hamilton. We beat this team in Toronto the week before and the game in Hamilton was called because of the riot. http://www.webenetics.com/hungary/olympic_1956.htm

July 18th, 2005, 01:34 AM
Don't get me wrong, it was brutal. I didn't play Division 1, but I did play for one of the best Community College teams in California. Being pulled back, kicked, pushed, scratched, etc were a given part of the game. My high school coach had received 3 broken noses while playing. And I once watched my team's goalie get into a fist fight with the opponent's goalie (that was fun because he won, and we won the game without him for the remainder).

But overall, water polo is the most fun sport that I have ever played. Granted, I would still rather swim in open water races...

July 18th, 2005, 07:02 AM
I'm back and I'm fine! The swelling went down!

Did the 2KM yesterday. It was a GORGEOUS swim. The water was clear and we could see little fishies swimming around underneath us. What a fantastic sport!


July 18th, 2005, 08:53 AM
I don't think I ever said it wasn't fun. We Played in a league of 6 teams, played each team 4 times then onto the Canadian Championships, which our team won many.

The last few I played in the Canadian Championships were round robin and teams from Canada and the USA played. As I said before thankyou - Maryyy for bringing up Waterpolo ahat memmorries.

July 18th, 2005, 09:37 AM
I didn't say polo wasn't fun, either! just said it was a stupid game, but I was joking!! :D

I love any sport that gets you wet and wild...