|Team Snappers. From left to right: Me, Dillon, Tom, AnnaCaroline, Jill, & Jess.|
I led off our relay yesterday, and to the extent that I'm disappointed with my swim, it's because of the way that I did it. Marathon swims are really about swimming smarter, not harder, and in this I didn't do myself any favors.
|The team on Concentricity.|
|Our boat captain, Carl.|
We met at Captain's Cove in Bridgeport around 5 am. We caught buses from there to the Bridgeport Ferry and across Long Island Sound to Port Jefferson. It rained almost the entire time we were out on the water, with most of the folks anxiously checking their phones to see if predicted thunderstorms were going to scrub the Swim. We caught a break shortly after we debarked the ferry, however, and after just a half-hour delay, we boarded our new friend Carl's boat Concentricity to head over to the race's starting point.
We got to the beach a little after 9:30. The tide was still coming in at that point, but it was closer to slackwater than it would have been if we'd started on time. In that we caught something of a break. However, it was chilly, and with the concentration of boats and the current effects of the tide, the Race Directors recommended that we put our best swimmers in the water to lead off. This is how I wound up on the beach at 9:35. Concentricity was actually the first boat to the start point, and I thought nothing of this, but in the event, I wound up shivering on shore for nearly twenty-five minutes. Carl pulled the boat to within maybe 25 yards of the beach, so I didn't have to swim far to get to the start point. I was wet when I got there, though, and the air was not warm at all.
|Obligatory selfie aboard the Bridgeport Ferry.|
|Sunrise off the Bridgeport Ferry with heavy clouds looming.|
|Dramatic entry into the water. From here, I swam to the beach|
for the start of the race.
The key to a long day of swimming like this is to swim at a steady, sustainable pace. Instead, I took that first leg out in an honest-to-God blaze of glory. Oops.
|Just off the beach.|
|I was actually racing this sailboat, trying to keep ahead of the swimmer I can't|
see who's on the other side. After a full half hour, I had maybe 200 yards on the guy.
I wound up going just over 1.1 miles in that first 30 minutes, which was somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes per mile slower than that effort level should have produced, though standing around on the beach before the start probably didn't help either. Regardless, we wound up fighting the tide/current for the rest of the day, and as the wind and chop on the Sound increased, this only got worse.
Tom went next, followed by Jill, Dillon, Jess, and finally AnnaCaroline. Different folks took different lengths for their pulls, so before I knew it, I was getting ready to get back in the water.
Swimming critique: I really need to work on keeping high elbows on that left side. That little bit of windmill stroke is throwing my body out of rhythm and keeping my stroke from being even, though it's made a little worse in these clips by the water's choppiness.
By the time I got in for my third pull, I really wanted to push through and do better, and I did. I really pushed it. When I got out after that third pull, I was dead. I mean, I felt well and truly smoked. By this point, too, we'd been out on the water for hours. Nevertheless, my last pull took me a mere .88-miles, and I'm still not over it. With current and chop both increasing, it was as if we were standing still. Towards the end, we had maybe eighteen inches of surf out there with occasional white-caps. These were definitely not easy swimming conditions.
|Open water swimming with a bit of chop.|
All in all, it was a good day on the water and certainly a good day of swim training, but I'm not pleased with my overall result. I wound up with something like 5900 yards total. That's a good 700 yards less than I put in two years ago despite my being in the water almost twenty minutes more this time. I also feel like I worked harder this time to accomplish dramatically less, and I know that I'm swimming better on average now than I was two years ago. All of which is frustrating, though it was almost totally outside of my control.
Aside from that, we raised a lot of my for a very worthy charity, and I have every intention of doing the Swim again next year. Next year, however, I'm not racing anyone. I'm going to be like George and swim a slow, steady pace that leaves me with enough energy to put in a strong, steady swim and a happy finish.
* * *
Post-Script: We made today's Connecticut Post!
|This was on page A-10.|
|Close-up of my close-up.|
Go Team Snappers!