Ever since tackling my first open water race at the 2012 Georgia Games Open Water Meet, I’ve been hooked on racing in open water. Although it’s not as challenging as swimming in real open water like I used to swim in as a kid back in California, it’s still a greater challenge than racing in a pool. After all, the pool provides the security of lane lines separating each swimmer, and the visibility is perfect. Just follow the black line!
At Lake Allatoona, all I could see was my own arm out in front of me. Beyond my fingertips, I couldn’t see anything, including the bottom. At an estimated 84 degrees, the water was also much warmer than the cool 78 of a competition pool.
Seeing the buoys was also a challenge, because there were some blind curves of the land separating the 1K buoys from the 3K buoys which meant waiting until I swam around the point before sighting the next buoys I needed to turn around before heading back towards the finish line. Besides, it was so humid this morning that my goggles fogged up even after preparing them with anti-fog spray!
Don’t mistake these as complaints, though, because I couldn’t have been happier than when I was racing those 3K and 1K races today. As a matter of fact, as I was running up to the finish line of the 1K race, I said to myself, “Oh, bummer! This is about to end and I don’t want it to be over!”
I was truly in my element today and very happy with the results! Coming in at :49.35, I took about 12 minutes off my 2012 3K time. According to Rob Copeland who set the buoys, he said the two courses were accurate 3K’s. (Last year, everybody came in much slower, and Rob admitted the 3K course was longer than a 3K. At 1:17 for my 2013 3K time, I would have to agree!).
Although I was pleased with my 1K swim as well, I believe I came in slightly slower than 2012, but much faster than 2013. I’m not sure of my time today, because I saw the clock several seconds after I crossed the line. It was at about 20 minutes, but I’ll have to check the official results when they get posted.
Today’s fun was capped off with two silver medals to show for my efforts! The 3K gold medalist beat me by about three minutes, so I know I couldn’t have won. In the 1K, you can see from this photo that I didn’t lose by much. Pam McClure (in front) beat me by a relatively small margin; however, she swam the 1K fresh having passed on the 3K.
My buddy, Mark Rogers did great today. He beat me in both the 3K and 1K, and he earned a silver and gold!
One surprise today was running into a member of Sun City Peachtree’s Board of Directors, Ted Turner. As it turns out, he also won a silver medal in the 3K, but I happily beat him by around five minutes. :)
What a blast! Can I go back and do it again? Oh well, it’s time to turn my focus back to the pool to finish preparing for the 2014 FINA Masters Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada. After I finish on August 8, we’ll head to Quebec City for a few days before flying to Maryland for the 2014 USMS Summer Nationals at the University of Maryland.
In between competing and sight seeing, I plan to write when time permits. Stay tuned for more blog posts to come! (If you don’t see any posts before our return, they will be posted shortly thereafter!)
EDIT: Times are posted, and I came in 33rd overall of the 81 men and women who competed in the 3K race. In my age group, I came in 2nd of 7 women, and my time was 0:49:35.49. I also beat out 20 of the 33 women who were in younger age groups.
In the 1K, I came in 21st out of 69 swimmers, and I beat out 13 of the 22 younger women. My 0:20:13.39 time was four seconds out of first, but 2nd place of six women in my age group.