Sunday, July 15, 2012 Steve Omi Memorial OW Swim
by, July 15th, 2012 at 08:17 PM (2358 Views)
OK, I'm sure this will never compare with the literacy skills of swimsuitaddict, but I'm going to do my best!
Last night about 7:30pm while cruising the forums, I decided to take a look at the NW Zone Page, specifically the [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showpost.php?p=269123&postcount=10"]Upcoming Masters Meets in the NW [/ame]page. Not sure what I was looking for in the first place, but I noticed that the Steve Omi swim was set for tomorrow (today) morning. Just for kicks, I decided to check out the lake temperature of Coeur d'Alene, ID. I knew that historically it's always cold, so I was shocked to see its current reading at 72.7!! I shot my friend a phone call in CDA to confirm, and she said that is most likely correct with all the warm weather we've had lately. Well, with that news, I then proceeded to ask my wife if it would be possible for me to make a trip to Idaho in the morning. Expecting a no way, or something to that effect, I was surprised when she said OK. Really?
I attempted to get to bed early last night, but the heat in the house (and the movies on Encore channels that we're getting for free) kept me from being able to fall asleep until almost midnight! 4 hours later....BEEP BEEP BEEP!! So tired...but still was going through with it. I got my oldest daughter out of bed to come along with me as well (she really wanted to for some reason). Left town by 4:30am to get there for the 8:00am checkin/late registration time.
McDonalds breakfast 2 hours into the trip...check! Successful swim about to happen now. As I kept pushing east to Spokane, WA, I noticed the clouds were looking quite dark in the distance (in the direction of Idaho), then a huge bolt of lightning lights up the sky! This was around 7:30am. It was a great day for a swim all over eastern Washington, but not for Idaho apparently! The lightning and thunder continued and continued, and as soon as we crossed the border to Idaho, the rain was pouring!
Well, I proceeded to get checked in, and the safety marshall was keeping the clock running (and reseting) on each lightning strike that happened. At times it seemed like it would stop, and then 20 minutes later another flash and crash in the sky Everyone was really hoping for the swim to happen today, especially those of us who had driving 3+ hours to get there! Finally things were beginning to clear, the lightning stopped and the rain began to die down. The original starting time of the race was 9:00am, and that was pushed back to 9:46am, so not extremely late. Much better than cancelling altogether! Damit, I'd better get to swim something after that drive!
Finally, we're in the water, and the near 73 degree water feels great as opposed to the wet 66 degree outside conditions we were in for the past couple hours. We got lined up on the start line, I took a position furthest out from the beach (course map) so that I could be away from the large bunch of people in the standing room only section of the water, and also so I could see everyone to my right side (which is my dominant breathing side). I knew I'd be in the top 5-10 of the race at the end, and figured I wanted to be in the lead group funneling around the first turn buoy as well. They gave us a 10 second countdown to start as well which was nice, so I could get my legs kicking horizontally before releasing the brakes to get off the start quick! I had a reaction time of 0.67 seconds off the line, which runs right along with all my starts at Canadian Nationals!
I did not sprint, but I definitely held a strong breakout stroke to be sure to be in the front of the pack. I knew there were a few superstar age groupers in the water, and I could see them merging across the lake as we got further down toward the first buoy. I was in 3rd at the turnbuoy, but had plenty of heat all around me. Apparently I had someone sneaking up on my left hand side and for the first left hand turn buoy she (yes it was a SHE) squeezed her way between me and the buoy to put me into 4th place. During the next short straightaway to the 2nd turnbuoy, another big guy in a wetsuit went by me (later found out it was Don Morovec, a guy who's pool distance records I've been just barely able to break in my former age group). He's now about 54 and an excellent OW dude. I never saw him again after that either!, so that put me into 5th place.
I was feeling very comfortable in the water today, it was a calm day on the water, not too many waves, though the visibility wasn't the greatest underwater, most likely due to the storms. Had a few waves on the long backstretch of the race, likely from a passing boat out there somewhere. I was swimming very straight lines, and was having an easy time sighting on the large 6'+ buoys (orange for the corners, and yellow for the intermediate buoys on the straight parts) I was also keeping sight on the kids and Don in front of me. I felt like the part in the Finding Nemo movie when the dad fish (Marlin) was chasing the scubadivers speedboat after they'd snatched up Nemo from the ocean. I could still see the bubbles from the kicking, but they were getting fainter and fainter in the water. It got to the point where I'd lost the draft of them, and wasn't sure who was coming up behind me, but wasn't going to look back at all to find out either. Why look behind you? Unless you're in open ocean and you're looking for dorsal fins and sharp teeth??!!
The remainder of the backstretch straightaway went without incidence, and was very peaceful. I was happy to be able to look out and see the lifeguards on their boards at the various stages around the course. Gave me a good feeling that I wasn't "alone". I was also playing with swimming longer and longer expanses without lifting up for a sighting breath. At times I was taking 15-20 stroke cycles, then looking up and finding that I was still exactly on course with the buoy. That made me feel good that I could swim a straight line without a black line below me. I then tried 30 strokes looked up, and the buoy had moved (or maybe I had), but quickly found my heading, and back on track.
As I reached the 3rd corner of the rectangle, I was beginning to feel a little fatigued. This is about the approximate distance (10-1200) of a pool race that I always seem to fall off my pace. I did breath to the left a couple times here so I could look back 90 degrees down the backstretch to see if I had anyone closely trailing me. I didn't see anyone for about what looked like 50 yards or so back. Well, it turns out that I had a guy (Larry Krauser (59 yrs.) - great pool freestyler and OW swimmer) who was coming up on my tail that I didn't notice. Continued like this past the 4th and final turnbuoy, still oblivious that Larry was right behind me.
In swimming the final stretch to the finish line, I couldn't remember how many large yellow buoys had been set out before arriving at the finishing point on the beach. The finishing point had a large white banner and flags, and there were a few other boat dock covers that were white as well down the shoreline. My goggles were heavily fogged up at this point, and I honestly couldn't tell where exactly the finish line banner was at! So I went vertical, cleaned out my goggles, and WHOOOSH...there went Larry, no longer drafting but pushing to the finish. I was now in 6th place. Trouble is he didn't allow for me to draft off of him!! By the time I got my momentum going again, he was out of range for my tired body. I did take a look back here, and I could see another person about 50 yards back or so. I didn't want to be caught again, so I tried to push the last 300 or so to the finish line. Never was I so relieved to be back on solid ground again!
Final time for the course: 21 min. 27 sec.
Overall Placing: 6th out of 120 or so
Age Group Placing: 1st (19-34 men) I'm still 34 for two more weeks
Funny part with this was at the registration table the lady felt sorry for me because I had to compete with all the 20-22 year old guys already signed up. At the time, I said "oh man, that sucks" (for them) - I didn't say the last part out loud.
Placing among naked (non-wetsuit) swimmers: 1st - they didn't divide people by wetsuit/non, but we knew who the real swimmers were
1st place was an 18:15 by a phenominal 17 year old who "took it easy" for his taper meet next weekend.
2nd -4th place was 20:40-20:50 or so...there was 1 age group boy, 1 age group girl, and 54 year old Don Morovec
5th place was 21:15 - Larry Krauser - 59 years
6th place was 21:27 - James Adams 34.93 years
7th place was about 22:00 by the 2nd place non-wetsuited guy - another age grouper.
Overall, it was a fun swim. I'm not going to change to being an OW enthusiast, I'm still a pool swimmer first for sure. The 1 mile swim was a good distance for me, and we'll see how the 1.76 mile goes in 3 weeks up in Sandpoint, Idaho. I will again be swimming that one "naked", while everyone else wears wetsuits.