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Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!

Saturday's Sandpoint, ID Longbridge Swim

Rating: 11 votes, 5.00 average.
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.

My award:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.n...49618482_n.jpg

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Comments

  1. tjrpatt's Avatar
    5 OW swims in 2 years. That is it! Sike, luckily, most of my OW swims are 90 minutes away. Nice going. Wetsuits feel so much different.
  2. BrendaL's Avatar
    Congrats!!!!
  3. StewartACarroll's Avatar
    I don't know how you do an open water swim? I never did like them on college training camps, the having to lift your head to sight where you were going was always a challenge for me. After all that's why we paint lines on the bottom of the pool; so we don't have to loose speed and form lifting our heads up. That's me though!

    I do admire people who do these tremendously and the really long ocean swims just blow my mind. I think you rock doing this race and obviously you have some serious talent to finish 6th out of 800+ people. Congrats.
  4. jaadams1's Avatar
    Thanks everyone! It was fun, and I've still got lots to learn about open water racing. One of these days it'll get easier. I'm still keeping my personal cap on OW distances at 2 miles and under. Beyond that is just nutso IMO.
  5. pwb's Avatar
    James,

    That's a huge improvement over last year and impressive. I ended up swimming it solo much like you did back in '07 and it definitely made it harder. I am glad you seem to be enjoying OW much more. Some day, if you can, I'd highly recommend you consider the Cascade Lake Swim Series in Bend, Oregon (http://www.swimoregon.org/calendar.php) some year. This would be totally up your 'animal lane' alley and, if you camp, you could trek with the kids down there to make a long weekend of family fun and swimming.
  6. mcnair's Avatar
    Great description of the race... congrats. You should have jumped on that drafting train for a bit of a respite, you might have been able to hang a little longer. Did you feel like you were overheating in the wetsuit? I never wear one and always think it would be nice for the first minute or so, but am glad I don't have it when the water temps are in the 60s-70s.
  7. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jaadams1
    I'm still keeping my personal cap on OW distances at 2 miles and under. Beyond that is just nutso IMO.
    Sometimes I think that pool sprinters have an easier time doing longer OW distances than you distance animals, if only because they feel less guilty about swimming at a relatively easy pace. I love your gung-ho style but that does sound like a painful way to swim a 2-mile+ race! Congrats on gutsing out another fine performance. What a year you've had!

    i think they should give special prizes to anyone whose finish position matches their race number (especially when those are assigned alphabetically).
  8. Sojerz's Avatar
    Nice race James. I've been swimming in a sleeveless xterra wetsuit for some early and late season lake swims and got pretty used to it. No problem with heat buildup at least for me in a sleeveless suit, the added buoyancy elevates my bk and seems to make it easier to just swim along. I don't really like it for br, makes it hard to kick, and br body position seems disrupted by the buoyancy. I haven't raced in the wetsuit yet. I do use br for sighting too about every 30 strokes or so. Way to go.
  9. jaadams1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pwb
    James,

    That's a huge improvement over last year and impressive. I ended up swimming it solo much like you did back in '07 and it definitely made it harder. I am glad you seem to be enjoying OW much more. Some day, if you can, I'd highly recommend you consider the Cascade Lake Swim Series in Bend, Oregon (http://www.swimoregon.org/calendar.php) some year. This would be totally up your 'animal lane' alley and, if you camp, you could trek with the kids down there to make a long weekend of family fun and swimming.
    I've thought about that trip down there, and we'll just have to see what each season brings with the harvest season. With my change of jobs to another company, it may free me up a bit more not having to be handcuffed to the cherry crop for the summer. But my wife still works in the warehouse, so that may put a damper on things. I'll just play it by ear each year.
  10. jaadams1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mcnair
    Great description of the race... congrats. You should have jumped on that drafting train for a bit of a respite, you might have been able to hang a little longer. Did you feel like you were overheating in the wetsuit? I never wear one and always think it would be nice for the first minute or so, but am glad I don't have it when the water temps are in the 60s-70s.
    I did think about trying to get over with Don and Larry to chase someone, but I was already on the downhill and would've had to really sprint to get over to them and stay up, which I wasn't sure if I could at that point.

    I didn't feel overheated at all with the full wetsuit. It was just perfect. With about 70 degree water and 65 degree air temps, along with a rainy morning start, I think it was just right! Plus, if your competition is all wearing wetsuits, why not have the same advantage as them. My hands were getting a bit cold by the end of the bridge anyway...
  11. jaadams1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by swimsuit addict
    Sometimes I think that pool sprinters have an easier time doing longer OW distances than you distance animals, if only because they feel less guilty about swimming at a relatively easy pace. I love your gung-ho style but that does sound like a painful way to swim a 2-mile+ race! Congrats on gutsing out another fine performance. What a year you've had!

    i think they should give special prizes to anyone whose finish position matches their race number (especially when those are assigned alphabetically).
    Had I been with a small group of people, I'm sure it would've been easier going, but it was a 100% mental game on my own, and my mind was telling my body all the negative things. I shouldn't have been looking back, only forward. I was too worried about holding back the surging crowd of swimmers than trying to outdistance them.

    ...and we'll see about the IGLA Open Water event. I have another 10 days or so to get registered for it. I'm sure I could swim it fine without any pool time between now and then.
  12. jaadams1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz
    Nice race James. I've been swimming in a sleeveless xterra wetsuit for some early and late season lake swims and got pretty used to it. No problem with heat buildup at least for me in a sleeveless suit, the added buoyancy elevates my bk and seems to make it easier to just swim along. I don't really like it for br, makes it hard to kick, and br body position seems disrupted by the buoyancy. I haven't raced in the wetsuit yet. I do use br for sighting too about every 30 strokes or so. Way to go.
    Thanks! It was fun. I'll continue using mine for all competitions unless absolutely forbidden. If that's the case, then I may not compete in that particular event. I'm a pool swimmer who likes 79-84 degree water...not 70 and below.
  13. Karl_S's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jaadams1
    I'm a pool swimmer who likes 79-84 degree water...not 70 and below.
    Not only is the man fast but he is also sensible.
    Nice result too.
  14. jaadams1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S
    Not only is the man fast but he is also sensible.
    Nice result too.
    Common sense! Thanks.