Great Prairie Open Water Swim

>> Monday, July 19, 2010

Or, “My Manhood Can Handle Being ‘Chicked’ By a 14 Year Old Girl.”

Or, “Julia, Don’t Drown That Child!”

Or, “Well, At Least I Beat The Pregnant Woman...”

Yesterday morning was my first ever “swim only” event. It was the “Great Prairie Open Water Swim.” They had a 5K and a 2.5K race. I knew I’d be able to handle the 2.5K with no problem, so I signed up!

Pharmie came to the race, but she didn’t do the event - she was just there to cheer. But she wanted to get in a swim, so she headed out for a 45 minute swim before the race started:

There were about a total of 80 people doing the swim. Here we all are standing around listening to pre-race directions:

And then I hit the porta-potty for my traditional shot:

We cheered the 5K swimmers off first:

5Kers off in the distance

And then us 2.5K swimmers warmed up for about 20 minutes before the start of our race. Here’s Kelly (nearly 6 months pregnant), Julia, and I hopping in:

Me, Chris, Kelly, Julia, and Steve H.

We were a little chilly in that last shot – the water was GREAT, but the air was cool. So we actually just hung out in the water for quite a while.

As we were nearing the start, I grabbed a photo with Amy B:

Just 2 seconds after taking that photo, we heard “ON YOUR MARKS...” So Amy and I booked it over to the starting line.


Here’s Julia, Steve, and Kelly all near the left / center of this photo crossing the starting mat:

Julia told me after the race that she wanted to start dolphin diving (as we had practiced at the lake a few days ago), but there was a tiny 11 year old girl in front of her, and she didn’t want to take her out! (You can see the girl in the photo above.) She probably could have dolphin-dived right over her!

I was a bit behind those guys at the starting line. Here I am entering the water with a lot of other people from the “wetsuit division:”

Heading to the left, looking for some clear water

Here was our course:

And as that map shows, they only had 8 buoys out there over a 2.5K swim! Sighting was a bit difficult. In this photo from during the race, you can really only see the closest buoy and 3 of the next closest:

So I kept calm and easy for the first leg of the race. I kept telling myself the only thing I could do wrong was to go out too hard. So I tried to keep it easy. My sighting wasn't too horrible, and I felt like I was doing OK.

When it came time to round the first buoy (about 950 meters into the race), I was swimming near someone, and I realized it was Julia!!! If I was near Julia, I MUST have been doing OK!! I was thrilled to see that! (I was in a wetsuit and she was not, so I know that gave me an advantage, but STILL, to be near Julia is a good thing!)

On the back-stretch, my sighting got a little off. I kept drifting a little to the outside. And I started getting a bit of a side-stitch on my right side. Stupid abs. What have you ever done for me? I was happy to round that next buoy and start my 950 meter journey back to the finish line.

About 1/3 of the way back (with around 600 meters left), I caught sight of another wetsuit next to me. “Ooh, THERE’S my friendly competition for the rest of the race,” I thought. I felt like I was doing OK, so there was a CHANCE that I could place in the “wetsuit division.” So I had to keep this guy from beating me back to shore! We kept up with each other, and I was always slightly ahead of him. But I was also aware that the final part of any swim is pretty weak for me, so I was trying to pull away early.

Anyway, as I was “battling” that guy out there, the 5Kers were starting their second lap, and the winner of the 2.5K was crossing the line. The winner was a 15 year old boy, who did the 2.5K in 36 minutes!

In our gang, Julia was the first one back. Here she is running up to the finish:

Steve H was just over a minute behind her:

Do you see those 2 white swim caps side-by-side just behind Steve? That’s me and the other wetsuit guy STILL battling it out! I was SPENT, so I popped up as soon as I saw ground under me, and you can see the other wetsuit guy was 10 feet in front of me:

Trying to catch him...

...trying to catch him...

...I couldn’t catch him.

The good news? Pharmie got that ever-elusive photo of me
stopping my watch as I cross the finish line. ;)

I was spent. It was a solid swim. The last 600 were probably pretty ugly, but I was still happy with how I did. And the rest of my friends were close behind:

Kelly finishing just behind me (6 months pregnant!)!
I can only swim faster than her when she’s pregnant! ;)

Chris hitting the shore

Amy hitting the line!

- 38 Masters 5K Swimmers (non-wetsuit)
- 9 Junior 2.5K Swimmers (non-wetsuit)
- 21 Masters 2.5K Swimmers (non-wetsuit)
- 16 Masters 2.5K Swimmers (wetsuit division)
- 2 5K Relays

- 88 total swimmers

My results:
2.5K: 47:57
3 out of 16 in the “wetsuit division”
1 out of 1 in my age group

- I was only 3 seconds out of second place in the wetsuit division, but I could NOT pass that guy in front of me!

- The top 3 finishers of the 2.5K were all under 18, including a 14 year old girl.

- If you took my finishing time and threw that into the NON-wetsuit JUNIOR division, I would have only beat 3 of the 9 swimmers. Speedy jerks kids. ;)

I chatted with my friends for a bit, hung out for the awards, and then headed home. There just HAPPENED to be a Taco Bell on my way, so I grabbed a traditional “post swim Quesadilla:”

Yep, that’s my new tradition.

If you want to see more photos, click here to go to an Examiner article I wrote about the event. Thanks everyone! Stop on back for a new giveaway tomorrow!


teacherwoman 8:52 AM, July 19, 2010  

Nice swim! I could probably handle a 2.5K .... very slow, but I don't think I could do a 5K. Wow!

GoBigGreen 10:58 AM, July 19, 2010  

You did awesome! At least the guy behind YOU didnt catch you:) Thanks for the pics and for a fun morning!

sRod 12:13 PM, July 19, 2010  

Nice work! Congrats on your first swim only event. (Something I don't see in my future.)

Caratunk Girl 2:26 PM, July 19, 2010  

Awesome swim! Great work, that is so cool - we don't have many of those swim only events here, I wish we did so I could get more group swims in.

Beth 9:42 PM, July 20, 2010  

Great job with the swim! Nice that you actually were able to "race" it and not just go the distance.

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