Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Eton Open Water Swim 2013

Yesterday I took part in the Eton Open Water Swim run once again by Human Race at Dorney Lake. It was only a week since I was last there and it's already my favourite place to compete, at any discipline on offer!
Being silly in front of the event van
The start times weren't as staggered as for last week's triathlon so there was more of a queue to get into the car park and registration was alarmingly packed but it was dealt with well by virtue of the organisers prioritising those with earlier start times, delaying the start by 15-20 minutes and everyone being just a bit sensible. At registration I collected my race number, cap with timing chip, energy gel and a back issue of H2Open which I'm reading with interest.

There were 5 distances being swum on the day; 750m, 1500m (mine), 3k, 5k and 10k. I can't begin to imagine swimming 10k... it's enough effort running the distance! The start times were at 15-20 minute intervals with a deep water start and in-water briefing. Somehow the water didn't seem as cold as the previous week but that may have been due to wearing wetsuit boots on this occasion. I deliberately placed myself at the back of the pack as I intended to do breaststroke, so was going to be slower and hoped to avoid the melee. There were only a handful of us swimming this stroke (although I did spot one girl doing backstroke) but it was good to know I wasn't the only one.
Prepping for the off
The problem with being at the back of the pack was that I got lapped, a lot. The 1500m was made up of 2 laps of the short course while the 3k, which started just 15 minutes after us was 4 laps. I found the sound of the next wave coming up behind me quite nerve-wracking but not nearly as scary as as having people swimming over me whilst overtaking. I think I kicked a fair few people, got hit a few times, and almost choked on water sent up my nose by the wake of other swimmers - this is what open water mass start swimming is really like.
Spectators view
At the finish there were plenty of marshalls to help us out of the waterm encouraging us to take our time and get our "land legs" back. Once up the gantry we collected a carton of cocovita, a cereal bar and a very smart medal, an improvement on the fare from the triathlon. I came 243 out of 255 finishers with a time of 47:59 which I was perfectly happy with. There were 6 DNF and 3 DNS.
Showing off my new medal. Lovely one it is too.
Once again the event was held at a wonderful location, it was well marshalled with good clear instructions, and a high standard of organisation generally. I really recommend these swim events. They make me want to be a keen swimmer and take lessons so I'm not the one at the back doing breaststroke but the one in the middle doing front crawl.

It was a gorgeous bright sunny day but breezy so we didn't stick around for a picnic as planned but did find a sheltered spot to have a celebratory drink.
Celebrating the end of my charity challenges

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