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Pier-2-Pier Swim - SwimOther

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Wilmington, North Carolina
United States
Cape Fear Aquatic Club
80F / 27C
Total Time = 1h 09m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

This was the first time I had done a beach start of any sort, let alone into the ocean through breakers - needless to say I was nervous. I wet my goggles and tasted the water as Linda suggested. Yup, it was salty!!

Katie, Chris and I all did this race as practice for B2B. We agreed this was not about racing, rather just getting the experience. We were going to stay together and have a good time. Plus Chris, Katie and Doug were going to do a 90mile bike ride on the course afterwards.
Event warmup:

No way I was crossing those breakers more than I had to. I got my goggles wet and that was it. I was surprised at how clear the water was. Too much time in Jordan Lake I suppose.
  • 1h 09m
  • 3010 yards
  • 01m 59s / 100 yards

It was a beautiful day. There was very little wind and the water was a calm as it could be. The sunny conditions did a lot to settle my nerves. However you could barely see the second pier! DAMN, THIS IS A LONG SWIM!!! I was mainly nervous about the start. If I could have jumped off a boat or somehow started in the water it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. But that is why I was there right? Try something new and grow.

We were all joking about sharks and who was going to grab on to whom when we freaked out - all in good fun. Then during the pre-race meeting the director was giving instructions on what to do if stung by a jelly fish. That I didn't need to hear!!!!!! We all agreed we were good enough friends to pee on each other - no sweat.

The under 18 age group went off 10 minutes before the adults and I was amazed at how many young kids were involved in this race. The under 18 age group was just as large as the adult wave. They were too funny as they shot off like a cannon at the start, only to be completely knocked down by the waves.

All racers were given a popsicle stick with our race numbers on it that we turned in when we entered the start corral. I joked that if I gave them my stick I was committed to entering the water. The gun went off and the adults weren't nearly as energetic to enter the water as the kids. Most of us walked in and even the big men were knocked down by the breakers.

Now all I knew about going through breakers was to dive into them. That works fine when you are on your feet, but it is much more difficult to do when you are already swimming. Every time I hit one (or was hit by one I should say) my goggles were either knocked off and/or filled with water. So that is what people mean about putting the goggle strap under the swim cap. Lesson learned. Finally I was through the waves and my goggles were settled. Chris made it through the waves like a pro and evently Chris, Katie and I regrouped and were off.

Chris is the best swimmer and promised to keep an eye on us. Katie was drafting off me for a while. That was a good thing because when she brushed my feet I knew she was there. I tried to draft off Chris but she doesn't really kick so there weren't any bubbles! Damn efficient swimmers!

It really was an easy swim. I realize I swim straight now and was able to work on my pull. I had thought earlier that I needed to increase my stroke cadance but realized that screwed up the timing of my breathing. So a stronger pull it is. I never really noticed a current. I was expecting a feeling comporable to riding down hill. At one point the water was warmer and I did feel a slight push from the water, but that was short lived.

The hardest part about long distance swimming is that you can't refuel like on a ride or run. So combining that with the salt water taste made my mouth very dehydrated. Salt water didn't sting my eyes too bad but I had enough in my goggles that when I lifted to sight the pier it would get in my eyes. So I did most of my sighting off of Chris and let her sight the pier. The damn thing was so far away you couldn't see it for a least a half hour anyway.

After about 40 minutes I lost sight of Katie but assumed she was just behind me on my left. We came accross a big dude who did lots of kicking and I drafted him for a while. First time ever feeling the effects of that - nice. But he kept stopping and doing the breast stroke and nearly kicking me in the head. So I passed him and let him follow me. We finally reached the turn buoy to head straight into the beach. Riding the waves back in is a lot more fun that going out! Chris and I crossed the finish line (no running for me) and the man that was following us thanked me for the pacing. I was a pace booty - he he he! Katie followed us about 5 minutes later.

We had some water and bagels to get the salty taste out of our mouths and then the new trio was off for 6 hours on the bike while I took my girls to the aquarium.

What would you do differently?:

I'll learn how to enter better if I have to do that again, but over all it was a great swim! Very proud of myself.
Post race
Warm down:

Food and a shower. (photos in my photo album)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The breakers at the start.

Event comments:

This was a good race. Very well oranized. The only suggestion I have is to put a few more sighting buoys on the course. This would help prevent people from swimming too deep and give you a closer target to sight.

Last updated: 2009-08-23 12:00 AM
01:09:00 | 3010 yards | 01m 59s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: none
Course: Swim out the the first turn buoy, make a right and head 1.71 miles straight down the beach to the second pier. Try to stay out of the deep ocean and the breakers. Not too complicated.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 80F / 27C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Bad Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-09-13 1:27 PM

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Apex, north carolina
Subject: Pier-2-Pier Swim

2009-09-13 4:38 PM
in reply to: #2403258

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Silverton, Oregon
Subject: RE: Pier-2-Pier Swim
Great job on your first ocean swim!!! Sounds like you had fun, stayed calm,and executed the swim perfectly. I hope to do half as well if I ever actually get up the courage to do an ocean swim
2009-09-13 4:50 PM
in reply to: #2403258

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Pier-2-Pier Swim
Sub 2:00, great swim Tracy!
2009-09-13 6:11 PM
in reply to: #2403258

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Subject: RE: Pier-2-Pier Swim
That sounds like a lot of fun!   You rock!
2009-09-13 6:34 PM
in reply to: #2403258

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Wherever the trail takes me, WA.
Subject: RE: Pier-2-Pier Swim
Way to go!!!
2009-09-14 11:24 AM
in reply to: #2403258

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Chapel Hill, NC
Subject: RE: Pier-2-Pier Swim
great report, thanks for the tips about goggles and two caps. I used to do that in my races, but it always seemed pointless, so I quit. i guess i just never did a real wavy swim! I also worry about nutrition and hyrdation in a long swim. Glad you made it strong thru the finish!

2009-09-14 1:46 PM
in reply to: #2403258

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Frisco, TX
Subject: RE: Pier-2-Pier Swim

Great report - dang that is a long swim!  Good job not being shark food! 


2009-09-15 9:21 PM
in reply to: #2403258

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Pier-2-Pier Swim
great race!  that is an extremely long swim!  It seems like you handled it like a champ!
2009-09-16 12:26 PM
in reply to: #2403258

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Guelph, Ontario
Subject: RE: Pier-2-Pier Swim

Very nice race Tracy. I know what you mean about the taste of the salt. Yuck.

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