Saturday's Sandpoint, ID Longbridge Swim
by, August 4th, 2013 at 12:08 PM (3855 Views)
Another OW swim in the books. I've only done a handful of these, so adding another is a big thing for me.
- August 2011 - CAST Classic 5K - DNF - I wasn't having a good time, out of shape, and pulled myself out of the race after 1 lap.
- June 2012 - Steve Omi Swim 1 Mile - 1st in age group (19-34)
- August 2012 - Longbridge Swim 1.76 Mile - 1st in age group (30-39), 21st of 900+ overall
- September 2012 - Lake Chelan Swim 1.5 Mile - 3rd overall
- August 2013 - Longbridge Swim 1.76 Mile - 1st in age group (30-39), 6th of 820 overall
I got up around 5:00am in Spokane where I stayed overnight, and went outside to find a nice drizzle of rain falling. Oh great, hopefully this won't be accompanied by thunder and lightning. I drove another hour and a half to Sandpoint, Idaho to get checked in for the race and numbered. I was #6, alphabetically of course. I joked with a few of my friends that they had given my number based on placement overall.
By the time the race was getting started, the rain had stopped, but it was still plenty overcast, and probably in the 60s for air temp. Not sure about the water, probably about 70 or so. Earlier in the week, people said it was warmer, but with a few days of rain and no sun, things can change a lot. I'm glad I had a good wetsuit for sure!! I got a good coupon code on the internet from Tom Patterson for an XTERRA wetsuit for almost 75% off, saving me tons of money. It was well worth it to have a real swimming wetsuit vs. the "play around in the water" wetsuit I used last year.
I lined up at the starting line to the far right side, alongside the kayakers. A majority of the people were at the left or middle so they could go alongside the bridge. It doesn't really matter where you start because it's the same straight line across the lake.
As the gun went off, I took off, probably "sprinting" for about 300-400 yards or so before even looking around. I was sighting of course a bit during this initial run, but I wasn't looking at any other competitors, just making sure I was straight with the bridge. After I felt I was at a strong breakaway, I went into cruise mode. Looking ahead I could see 1 or 2 splashing swimmers ahead of me, and then I rolled over for backstroke to look behind me. NO ONE!! We were a long distance ahead of the whole pack, so I just turned back over and swam on. As it turned out, I was in 4th position at this point, but didn't actually know that. In my head I was telling myself I was in 2nd or 3rd place, and just keep going.
The bridge itself is 1.2 miles long, so I just kept going, trying to maintain a strong kick and relieve some of the muscle fatigue in my arms. It was a bit wavy out there at times, but much better than the year prior when we had a headwind the whole way. For the swim, it was very uneventful. I could see a kayaker staying alongside me off to the right side, and I'm glad it was there, since I had no one else around me for a while. I kept a pattern going of about 40 strokes Freestyle, with about 10 strokes Backstroke, maybe 1 or 2 Breaststokes, and back to Free again. In a 50 meter pool I can maintain about 38 strokes per length under calm conditions, so I figured each of these cycles I was doing was approximately 50 meters. I'd stop to clear goggles on occasion, and look behind me to see a few swimmers back there. Still far enough back to not worry too much.
At the end of the bridge, my power was fading, and I was wishing the swim could be done now. I could see two swimmers pulling alongside me, though they were about 15-20 yards off to my right side. I knew them both: It was Don Morovec (53yr), and Larry Krauser (60yr). They were doing a draft train the whole way. I've been chasing Don's 30-34, and 35-39 LMSC age group records in the pool events, and able to get a few of them, but not all of them. Larry has all of the freestyle pool records from the 40-44 through the 60-64 age group, and they're pretty tough.
I knew I had no chance to hang with them as they went by, and just let them go on. I was a solo swimmer from the beginning to the end of the whole race, and that was tough. It would've been nice to have a draft person at times, but it just didn't work out for me this year. The final 1/2 mile or so is alongside the shoreline to the finish point. There are 12 or so pilings along the route marking the shallow water as well as a underwater rock barrier wall. At times these rocks were very near the water surface. I used a few of the rocks to jump off and dive forward. My body was dying at this point, just wanting to finish. I was doing more and more switching from free to back, clearing goggles, looking behind me at the upcoming pack of swimmers. Had to keep going. From the last piling to the finish I didn't look back, didn't change strokes, just swam onward, kicking and pulling as best as I could, till I couldn't stroke anymore. Push up, stand up, get up the beach and cross the finish line. DONE...!!!!
The congratulations from the crowd were sure nice to hear. I saw Larry standing there, he said I was the #6 finisher, and I had 3 more swimmers who must've made a break for me at the end, because #7, 8, and 9 were a few seconds behind me crossing the line.
The results: https://www.athletepath.com/the-long...8-03/176-miles
I really like how they did the results this year. You can see everyone, where they're from, and times. Not a whole lot of super fast age groupers this year. They had Zone Champs, prepping for Jr. and Sr. Nationals as well right now, so they were probably pushed away from this swim by their coaches.
I finished 1st in my age group, and 6th overall out of 820 swimmers. I was really happy with the result, though I'm still not gung-ho about doing OW swims that much more. I'm sure I'll still make an appearance at Longbridge year to year. We'll just have to see how things go each season.