Friday, June 14, 2013

Sunnen Lake 2 Mile Open Water Swim "Race"

This was a race but, I had no intentions of actually racing it. The only thing I was interested in was getting in a long open water swim sans wetsuit and seeing how I felt after it.

The swim took place, last Sunday, about 90 minutes south of St. Louis at a YMCA Camp where the nurse used to be a camp counselor/lifeguard. We go down there, got registered and I decided to see how cold the water felt before the race. They said it was low to mid 70s and it felt pretty chilly.

Getting in for the start wasn't that bad but, I did notice the wind creating a pretty decent current against the direction of swimming. After floating around for a minute I was off and I was amazed at how soon I was all by myself. There weren't nearly as many people as a tri start so it was weird to not bump into anyone.

The swim course looked something like this:

The current was noticeable for the first and longest leg. Sometimes it feels like you fly by a buoy during a swim but I felt like I was barely moving around it. After the second buoy you'd think you'd still be swimming with the current but there was a cove and there was also a current into the cove. Lucky us. On the second loop things seemed to get worse. I felt like I was getting tossed around and had a ringing in my ear from the "waves" hitting it. This lake had some mini swells and I sort of felt like I was trying to time my breathing as if I were swimming in the ocean.

For some reason I had 58 minutes in my head but I knew that wasn't going to happen after I rounded the second buoy again. At this point I had no idea how slow I was going. I kept looking back while breathing just to make sure I was getting farther away from the last buoys. The last leg was somewhat of a struggle considering I was in a lake. Then after the last buoy it was 200-300 meters to shore. This part really proved how strong the current was. The "beach" was a 30 meter area between a tiny sailboat and a dock with a pontoon boat. I was sighting pretty far left of the sailboat and after 10 strokes I'd look again I I was headed straight for the pontoon. This went on for a few minutes until I noticed people standing on the boat pointing to my left. I kept thinking, "Yeah, yeah, I know. There's a current. I promise I don't swim this crooked."

I ended up not running into the boat and made it to shore in 1:14. I was a bit dizzy and it took about 5 minutes to recover. Not the time I was looking for but, in the results email the RD mentioned how bad things got after the first loop. So, I guess I did alright relative to the conditions. Then we showered and went to the lunch buffet at the lodge.

This turned out to be a good gauge on where my swimming stands. I definitely need to work on my longer swims. At least this went better than my first 2.4 mile swim. I had never swam more than 1600 meters and signed up for the swim. I made it through in something like 1:45 but was out of it for the rest of the day. Hopefully I can get in another continuous 2 mile OWS in about a month to see if things are any better.

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