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Of Swimming Bondage

Nice swim, not so nice race

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by , April 8th, 2012 at 12:26 PM (116 Views)
Yesterday, Saturday April 7th, was a gorgeous day for an open water swim ... too bad it was actually supposed to be a race, something my body just never seemed to want to acknowledge. DCB started the race from the north side of Tempe Town Lake (TTL), just a few yards offshore from a sandy beach area. The 11am start time, the very light cloud cover and the course markings meant we never had to swim into the blinding sun that usually greets OW racers in AZ. I thought the water would feel a bit colder than it did -- official race temp was 64 but I think it pushed 66 in parts -- but it just felt good. Really the only bad thing about the day was that TTL was its usual murky self, so visibility was about arm's length. There were more "naked" swimmers than I had expected, probably 10 of us, and, aside from Kurt Dickson, some guy from Las Vegas and I, I think everyone else was from Mesa Aquatics Club (that's probably not entirely right, but there was a good crew from there).

Although I'd had a fairly crappy week of workouts, I thought I could at least hang with Kurt for some period (he almost always beats me on distances like this), so my race strategy was to draft off him for as long as I could. Well, that strategy didn't even last to the 2nd buoy. Kurt got out to a good start, I got locked into a few arm bumps with the guy from Las Vegas and I just watched Kurt steadily pull away from both of us. I just couldn't will my body to go any faster ... but ... at the same time ... I was really enjoying the swim. I settled myself into a nice groove, in a steady breathing pattern of 2-2-3-2-2, lifting my head for a sighting every fourth breath except when passing the buoys. I thought it was cool that the swim passed under two bridges, enjoying the darkened water. I passed numerous wetsuit swimmers (who start 5 minutes ahead of the naked folks), but never saw Kurt or the guy from Las Vegas again. It was very much a meditative solo effort ... until I rounded the third to last buoy on the last lap and spotted a red cap behind me with no wetsuit. I knew this had to be one of two swimmers -- either my daughter's fast friend (who beats me in the 800/1500) or Shauna Nelson, a MAC Masters swimmer and great distance gal. Aside from my lame attempt at racing Kurt at the start of the race, this was my only real "racing" part of the event, just desperately trying to stay ahead of whoever this was. She kept gaining on me throughout the last ~400 yards, but I managed to hold her off (by a mere 2 seconds). At the end of the day, Kurt just obliterated me (http://www.dcbadventures.com/uploads.../owsr1ov12.pdf) by almost 2 minutes and yet ... I really loved the swim. It was probably the most pleasant and smooth open water swimming experience in recent memory.

So, as much as I liked my race, I loved watching my second daughter do the 2K event. Though she has no reason to be confident she'll be warm in chilly water (tall and thin), she was not at all phased by doing her race without a wetsuit. Quite logically, she just noted that the water temp was about La Jolla race water temp, so it would be no big deal. The "naked" swimmer crowd was 10 people and she swam an extremely solid 31:09, to score 2nd woman overall. She loved the event and is talking about doing the 4K later in the series.

All in all, it was great day. A number of the swimmers were bemoaning the fact that we have such great lakes for racing, but not enough races. There are a number of exploratory efforts underway this year in the lakes by different people to figure out new places, new distances, etc. for races. I'll be involved in one of those a little later (more on that later), but learned about another group attempting 6 swims of 10 miles, as well. I'll try to get involved in as many of those as I can and report on them as I do.

My wife and youngest daughter came along to cheer and take pictures; if there are any good ones, I'll post them.

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Comments

  1. Water Rat's Avatar
    Cool Patrick. You almost make me want to swim OW. Will your whole family be in NC?
  2. jaadams1's Avatar
    or Shauna Nelson, a MAC Masters swimmer and great distance gal
    I remember racing against her while I was down there last fall. When I decided not to chase you in the 400 IM, it was a duel to the end against her! Not easy either!
  3. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat
    Cool Patrick. You almost make me want to swim OW.
    You should try it. Start small with a mile or something like that and start warm. It's a very different experience than pool swimming. This year, with summer Nationals so early, I think I'll manage a 4th "season" in the year and focus on OW from mid-July to early October before turning back to a SCM focus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat
    Will your whole family be in NC?
    Kind of. My parents and sisters will be there: we're doing family relays -- but my kids and wife will remain in AZ; it's the wrong time of year to take high schoolers out of school (AP exams and finals).
  4. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jaadams1
    I remember racing against her while I was down there last fall. When I decided not to chase you in the 400 IM, it was a duel to the end against her! Not easy either!
    Yes. For all I know, she was drafting off me the whole way, but, I rather suspect she just got faster throughout as I slowed down.
  5. aztimm's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pwb
    Yes. For all I know, she was drafting off me the whole way, but, I rather suspect she just got faster throughout as I slowed down.
    So was it Shawna? She's an incredibly fast swimmer. I think I ended up in a lane with her once...


    Otherwise, it certainly sounds like a great swim Patrick!
    Sometimes (for some of us more often) it is just about enjoying the day, the water, the crowd, and having fun. Glad you made the most of it! And it ended up being a bit warmer yesterday than they predicted (at least what I last heard).
  6. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    Many of my favorite OW race experiences have been like yours--some competition and even jostling at the beginning, a long stretch of contemplative solo swimming to enjoy in the middle, then a fun race to beat someone to the finish! Sounds like a lovely day to me.

    And it's very cool that your daughter's eager to take on longer distances, and not at all nervous about cold water. Kudos to her!

    It's also really great that you have OW races in your area starting in early April. Not too many places in the country where that happens.
  7. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by aztimm
    So was it Shawna? She's an incredibly fast swimmer.
    Yes, it was. I'm very glad it was a 4K and not a 5K or she would've easily taken over.
  8. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by swimsuit addict
    Many of my favorite OW race experiences have been like yours--some competition and even jostling at the beginning, a long stretch of contemplative solo swimming to enjoy in the middle, then a fun race to beat someone to the finish! Sounds like a lovely day to me.
    It was ... and I actually thought about the way you write about many of your OW experiences as I was doing this ... imagining myself approaching the state of bliss you seem to achieve!

    Quote Originally Posted by swimsuit addict
    And it's very cool that your daughter's eager to take on longer distances, and not at all nervous about cold water. Kudos to her!
    Thanks ... she's a tough one
  9. aztimm's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pwb
    Yes, it was. I'm very glad it was a 4K and not a 5K or she would've easily taken over.
    Yea, she's super fast and seems to thrive on distance. Plus she has the most miles YTD of anyone in the AZ LMSC who's doing GTD:
    http://www.usms.org/fitness/results1...s_clubs.php#AZ

    (yes, even more than Kurt Dickson)

    You'll have to visit us at Kino again so you can swim with her in workout