Jun 23, 2015

USMS National Open Water Championships 15K

USMS National Open Water 15k (9.3 mile) Championships from the perspective of kayaks, support crew and chief enthusiast me and several hundred other national caliber swimmers, coaches and avid supporters.
The beginning of any open water competitive swim can be frustrating for the calm and experienced, nervous for the un prepared, and nerve racking for the newbie no matter how capable. This is my 5th or 6th one of these both as a swimmer perspective and kayaker and I can say in the end its a team effort, including those that host the event. 
Our hosts from GRIN and NASTI masters teams in Indianapolis really do a nice job, giving up their potential to swim to help others become champions. This is one of the hallmarks of our sport, giving back.

This year was no different, than those of the past, stormy and grey weather threatened but held off. a few years ago when we did the 25k, swimming this many miles in hot water makes for a long day. 

The calm waters of Morse gave way to after winds chopping up the South End as usual, so much so I ran over Doug twice trying to stay close as a guide through the maze of buoys that makes up the turn/finish area for another lap. 

As you can see in this picture the shoreline undulates back and forth requiring the swimmer to be very precise in sighting. 

Here is Doug Mcconnell and myself heading up the East River last summer while circumnavigating Manhattan Island for a good idea of how close we operate.

A really strong fast swimmer can easily fall behind lifting their head too often, burning energy from dragging their hips low in the water. Experienced swimmers realize quickly that having an experienced kayaker is really critical, using them as a sight line on one side and the tree for example on the other. It's a choreographed dance on water.

In the end we had great fun, saw many old friends, made new ones and created hope for the future of our sport and the next race or chance to swim across a big body of open water.