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Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - SwimOther

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Annapolis, Maryland
United States
Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, Inc
75F / 24C
Total Time = 2h 11m 56s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:45, out the door, and on the shuttle bus by 6:30. Had just enough time to get checked in and ready before the pre-race meeting.
Event warmup:

Several minutes of stretching on the grass, looking out at the Bay and listening to some tunes. Very relaxing and calm.
  • 2h 11m 56s
  • 7744 yards
  • 01m 42s / 100 yards

This was my 5th time across and the conditions were the most favorable for a swim than any other prior attempt. This year's race was characterized by an early morning start (8am), warm water (72 degrees), no sea nettles, very calm smooth water, and a well timed start with respect to the slack tide.

Pre-race meeting warned of a possible strong ebb (N->S) tide in the second half of the race, so my strategy was to swim conservatively in the first 2 miles and stay in the left-center position. After mile 2 I planned to move to a far left position and hold a line along the North span in anticipation of the ebb. Then I hoped to hold that position until mile 4 when we exit the bridges and head to the finish line in the sheltered cove in front of Hemingways.

Up to mile 3.5 I did exactly as I planned. The first mile went well with little contact with other swimmers and plenty of open water. At mile 2 I found the banana boat and got a quick drink and had a gel. In the shipping channels I found little current and even less chop, so I was able to settle into a nice smooth rythmn. I briefly paused at mile 3 for another gel and went back into my rythmn. Just as I was congratulating myself for a perfect tactical execution I encountered the ebb tide, and spent some time countering the current's attempt to push me south of the southern bridge span. I had gotten a bit complacent and didn't hold my line along the north span as planned, and so I paid for it with a little bit of diagonal swimming. It was never any real problem, though. I simply had to re-sight and correct every 100 strokes or so.

Finally made it to the exit from under the bridges, sprinted the last 800 yds to the finish line, and clocked in at 2:11 - not a personal best but not a bad time for me.

What would you do differently?:

Given the conditions, had I trained more seriously I could have broken the 2 hour mark this year.
Post race
Event comments:

As always an outstanding event.

Last updated: 2010-04-22 12:00 AM
02:11:56 | 7744 yards | 01m 42s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
I took splits at each mile marker, but I think the course was not accurately marked. Mile one came in at 20:00, Mile 2 at 30:00, Miles 3 and 4 were 31-32 minutes. While the 1st mile is the easiest of the race, I was very conservative and I doubt I actually posted a 20 min mile. Similarly, though currents/chop make the middle miles more difficult, I doubt it was a 12 minute effect. Thus, I don't think my splits are correct.
Suit: sleeveless Vortex
Course: 1 lap across the bay from west to east. Beach start at Sandy Point St Park. 4 miles between the 2 spans of the Bay Bridge, which forms a 100 yd swim lane. Finish on the beach at Hemingway's on Kent Island. Conditions were outstanding this year. A diminishing flood tide on the front half of the swim had almost no effect on the swim. I crossed the deep shipping channel at slack tide and had no trouble staying on course. A strong ebb tide on the back half of the swim (miles 3.5-4.0) caused some fits, but never really threatened to push me off course. Waves and chop were nearly non-existent, at times it felt like a lake swim on a windy day.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good 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? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-06-13 10:19 PM

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Subject: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim

2010-06-15 5:56 AM
in reply to: #2919244


Sykesville, MD
Subject: RE: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim
Great time. This was my 1st year and I couldn't have asked for better conditions. I've appreciated reading your race reports... they certainly helped prepare me for this event. I'm hoping to do this again next year if I get through the lottery.
2010-06-15 8:03 AM
in reply to: #2919244

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Subject: RE: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim
Yup, I can't thank you enough. I had a LOT of irrational fears going into this; but the one RATIONAL fear was the current, and your race reports covered that in detail. The first couple of times I read them, it was more info than I could handle. I didn't know what an ebb tide v a flood tide was. I had a hard time picturing the bridge to figure out which side the north span would be on and all that. BUt I read them through a couple of times, and it was absolutely invaluable information! I just needed to do my homework so I could understand what you were talking about. Thanks!
2010-06-15 8:15 AM
in reply to: #2919244

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Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim
Awesome job!  I'm still amazed anyone can swim that far.  I just wish it wasn't always on the same day as E-man so I could come out (to watch, not to swim!).

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