2010 Open-Water Season in Review

Despite my best efforts, the 2010 open-water season is now over! Like Rob, my original plan was relatively modest compared to the end result (though it seemed ambitious at the time). At first, I aimed to run the gauntlet of USMS open-water national championship series – North Carolina, California, Colorado, Virginia, and Indiana – and finish off the season at Big Shoulders in Chicago.

As the year wore on, I found excuses – one by one – to add more events. For the Nike Swim Miami, it was an excuse to visit an old college roommate. For the Cascade Lakes Festival, I got to meet up with my parents and visit my grandmother. For Madison, the drive from Chicago was too short to pass up. Ditto for Diamond Lake. For Little Red Lighthouse, it was a chance to try an NYC Swim race before applying to MIMS. For Swim the Suck, it was a chance to try a true marathon swim and extend my season into October.

And now here we are, 17 races (in 12 states) and 57.4 racing miles (92.4K) later. True to the blog’s title, all races took place in freshwater lakes, with three exceptions:

  • Nike Swim Miami (Atlantic Ocean)
  • Little Red Lighthouse Swim (Hudson River)
  • Swim the Suck (Tennessee River)

How to even begin to sum up this experience? With a list, of course!

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Race Report: Little Red Lighthouse Swim (New York, NY)

RESULTS here.
Preview post here.
Daily News of OWS article here.

The phrase “little red lighthouse” may evoke something quaint and isolated – possibly in Maine – but make no mistake: This is a big, urban swim. After a summer of so many rural lake swims, I was looking for an excuse to try one of NYC Swim‘s well regarded events. Most were either too short to justify traveling to New York or, as in the case of MIMS and Ederle, longer than I was ready to do this year.

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Kayak Escort Practice Swim!

This morning, while 45,000 runners sweated through an unseasonably warm October morning in the Chicago Marathon, I went for a nice long swim in Lake Michigan.

I was joined in this outing by my new friend Thomas – ultra-distance cyclist, fellow Point swimmer and, it turns out, owner of a sea kayak! After a recent Point outing Thomas had suggested that if I ever wanted to explore regions of the lake outside the swim buoys, he’d be glad to provide an escort. With the last blast of summer weather, the stars were aligned – I took him up on the offer.

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October swimming at Promontory Point

In case you missed them on my Twitter feed, here are a couple videos I took at Sunday’s group swim at the Point. A few intrepid souls will continue swimming into November, but for many this was the last swim until spring. The air was chilly that morning – about 50F – and the water not much warmer at 58. But the main obstacles to swimming were the strong northerly swells, reaching up to 6 feet once you got away from the rocks.

Five of us (or so) got in for a short swim, but it was a little too wild for a trip to the pier. Ruth-Anne, the star of these videos, arrived later which allowed me to document her adventure from the comfort of warm clothes.

Enjoy:

2011 USMS Open-Water Championships

The schedule of 2011 USMS open-water national championships is now available. I did the “grand tour” this year – and it was fun – but I had no plans to replicate it next year. Unfortunately, this schedule makes it look as if USMS is trying to prevent people from doing them all:

  • June 12 – 10K – Fort Myers, FL
  • June 18 – 25K – Noblesville, IN
  • June 25 – 5K – Coney Island, NY
  • July 3 – 1 mile – Sweet Home, OR
  • August 13 – 2-mile (cable) – Lake Placid, NY
  • August 20 – 2.4-mile – Madison, WI

That’s right – 4 of the 6 national championships are on four consecutive weekends! Even better, the marathon, ultra-marathon, and half-marathon distances (10K, 25K, and 5K) are on three consecutive weekends.

Some other interesting co-incidences (in the literal sense), especially relevant to marathon swimmers:

For open-water swimmers, it always seems like the days of summer are too few. This really takes that sentiment to an entirely new level!