I did this as a training event– a good way to get in lots of yards and real life open water race experience. There was also a 5k and 800m option, but the 5k started too early in the day, so I opted for the 3k / 2k double.
Among the favorites to win the 3k were my brother Derek and Filipo. I positioned myself behind them at the start. I aimed for Derek’s feet, knowing he tends to get out fast, but Filipo edged in. I dropped in behind Filipo until he let a gap open, when I came around and surged back on to Derek’s feet. After the first turn (the course was 3 out & back 1k loops), Derek went wide, so I stayed straight and swam ahead and held a steady pace. At the turn half way through the race, I have someone swimming completely on top of me. Who’s the dork? Ah… I recognize the bathing suit. The Dork is Derek! I playfully hit him back when he turns on his back and laughs. Too funny. I then drop back in behind the tow-master and draft the rest of the way, even when he turned into a pack of boys in an effort to dislodge me from my position. Nothing doing! Rounding the final turn with 500m to go, I know he will speed up and I also know that I’m not fast enough to come around and pass, so my best option is to hang on as long as possible. I worked hard to stay there, but I stayed on his feet to the end. There was a small chance I could hop up and run by under the finish banner, but he was quicker. Whew! Tough 3k…now for a 2k? What was I thinking?
The 2k is pretty uneventful except for the kids wave swimming all over the place. Right, left of the buoy’s. Didn’t matter. It’s a miracle I had only one collision, which wasn’t bad at all. My motivation to race the 2k has waned after pushing the 3k so hard. I swam steady and felt OK for the first half. My shoulders and lats started to give out on the second half and I slowed. Not for lack of effort, that was just all I had. About 300m to go, I see Filipo swim by. For a split second I thought I could stay on his feet, which was about as long as I stayed there. He gapped me by quite a bit by the end. I was wiped out!
Overall, the location was nice. The lake was clear, calm and wave free, which made for quick open water swimming. The water temperature was nice too — probably mid-70′s. One of the take-away’s from the race is I’m swimming nice and straight and staying on course very well. This is good.
The event is also a USS open water meet for kids, which were the priority of the race organizers. Unfortunately, the Masters swimmers were last priority. Several other masters swimmers mentioned that they never announced the awards for the Masters events last year and even had several significant errors in the times when they were posted. This time, we elected to leave after waiting around for a good while after being informed that they were doing the kids results first and they weren’t sure when the Masters results would be done. Since I forgot to wear a watch, I haven’t the faintest idea what my times were. I’d love to know.
My opinion? If it’s a kids event, then that’s fine, make it a kids only event. However, if you’re going to accept the Masters Swimmer’s money and call it a State Championship, then at least pretend you care and figure out a more efficient way to tallying results. Spending $40 plus a one day masters fee at a state championship should warrant some respect for the athletes instead of responding to polite requests for updates by seeming a bit put out by our impatience. Perhaps the Masters Swimmers could pay reduced rates for reduced service levels– you know, here’s the course and support, but you get your own times and figure out your placements yourselves. We could assign a person that has a list of particpants in each race with a stopwatch in hand to stand at the finish. Results may not be to the tenth of a second, but close enough and prompt in the very least.
On a more positive note — here’s some pictures from the event.