I wasn't even going to write about the North Shore Swim Series races this summer... Not sure why I thought that... maybe just that I've written about them a bunch before and they are the same every year so I didn't anticipate there would be much blog material there? But today was the 2nd race of the series and I think it provided me with some blog material. :)
So these races attract swimmers of all ages and all types. There were ~800 swimmers there this morning, which shows huge growth from when I started doing these races 8 years ago. Youngest gal today was 7, oldest was 77. How cool is that? Top 3 OA were 20-21 so I would guess collegiate swimmers? They said it was 1.2 miles but looking at all the times I'd call it longer than that, but it always is and no one cares.
Men went first this morning then the women lined up and went 5' later. It was sort of a rectangular course with a couple of boats and buoys to get around and one giant rock that served as turn buoy #3. What was most interesting to me about this morning was our start, and the realization about the difference between real swimmers and triathletes. In a way today's course in Waimea Bay reminded me a lot of the Honu swim (similar counter-clockwise loop, and in both instances I saw a turtle while warming up), except it was done with swimmers instead of triathletes. And wow- there is a difference! For the record, I am not a swimmer. I am a triathlete who consistently works hard in the pool so I don't suck at swimming. But I am not a swimmer. There girls today were swimmers. You know the difference? Real swimmers kick.
So the horn goes off and I'm on the front line and you know what? I had no business being on that front line! I would guess that 50 x 13 yo girls swam right over top of me, though I couldn't really see any of them because of all of the white water. KICK KICK KICK like freakin' motorboat propellers those girls were using their FEET. I cannot kick like that for 25 meters but I am not kidding they kicked like that for probably 500 meters! I couldn't see a thing in front of me except white water being created by these fast feet.
In most triathlons I can start on the front line and maybe I watch a few girls swim away but not more than a few. In these races I look up a few minutes into the swim and seems like there are 100 girls ahead of me already. It is crazy! Eventually it did thin out a bit, and my triathlon experience gives me a leg up when it comes to two things- 1. Open water sighting (I can do it without stopping and doing breaststroke- 13 yo girls seemingly cannot) and 2. Endurance. After the 2nd buoy this morning I found myself catching and passing some of those young gals who had gassed themselves kicking like it was a short sprint race. So that was a bonus.
Interesting too as I was rounding the final rock I saw the gal who won my age group at the first race two weeks ago... She crushed me by 2+ minutes at that race so I did not expect to see her, but when I did, it was interesting to feel the competitive SPARK I felt! It's been a while since I've felt that b/c let's face it, in a triathlon swim it doesn't really matter if you come out a few seconds ahead of another swimmer... the race gets played out later on the bike and run so I am not really accustomed to gunning it with the intent of being first out of the water... but in these races, that is the goal! So I put my head down and made a beeline toward shore... trying to become invisible in my bright pink sparkle suit so she wouldn't see me and try to jump on my feet...
In the picture below you can sort of see the black rock (dead center) that served as turn buoy #3.
Moana and I got tons of compliments on our sparkly suits this morning... Me, and my mini-me. I'm sure one of these years she'll be racing these swims too. I will LOVE that.