General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life? Rss Feed  
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2013-05-03 9:43 AM

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Edited by jdl2012 2013-05-03 10:10 AM


2013-05-03 9:57 AM
in reply to: #4725760

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Queen Creek, AZ
Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?

I've watched the swim, having never done it, and it looks like it's decent enough in the back.  That's where I'd start, but then again, I'm not a crazy strong swimmer either.

It's a balancing act as always, catch a draft and take the risk of getting banged up or do it solo with no risk.

There's some good YouTube videos on the swim start here.

2013-05-03 10:34 AM
in reply to: #4725793

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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?

It's no worse than any mass start...

Place yourself accordingly to minimize contact.

2013-05-03 11:42 AM
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2013-05-03 12:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?

jdl2012 - 2013-05-03 9:42 AM I haven't been in any mass starts that are anything close to 2800 people.  In other events, I have never been swam over.  I have been wedged between people being forced on top of other swimmers, I've been kicked and hit continuosly from both sides.  But as far as the guys I have talked to, only IM does the "people swimming over others" seem to occur.  One guy said that he swam  over top of 15 people. 

I can only talk from experience...

That just sounds like a lot of machismo talk to me.  Not to say it can't happen if that's your goal.  I may have swam over someone's legs on occasion and the same happened to me...  Been kicked a couple times and smacked with an arm.

But it doesn't have to be the scrum/fight to the death if you don't want it to be.  I have ALWAYS found swims to be eventful, but nothing like the stories I have heard.  I even start up front, maybe 3-5 people back from the start line...  I put myself in the mix, and never had anything happen like this in 4 IM's, 2 of those are IMAZ.

2013-05-03 12:10 PM
in reply to: #4725760

Elite
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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?
I've done IMAZ twice. Yes, with that many people starting at once, you will have contact UNLESS you really don't want it and aren't so worried about your time...then hang back a bit and let everyone get going, then start swimming.  I wouldn't say it's swim for your life. The first 1000m probably are the worst, but you can find spots where you're fine, then some contact, but then you're fine again.  It spreads out more after the turn around for sure.  I've always been about 3/4 of the way over from the wall (so more towards the buoy line).  Honestly, practice having someone swim over you. Get in a lane with a friend, and you two swim side by side and rough each other up a bit. If you are comfortable dealing with that, it'll make IMAZ less of a shock. I can tell you, IMCdA was MUCH worse--it was a slug fest, IMAZ was just a tad crowded.


2013-05-03 12:10 PM
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2013-05-03 12:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?

TexasMPGal - 2013-05-03 10:10 AM I've done IMAZ twice. Yes, with that many people starting at once, you will have contact UNLESS you really don't want it and aren't so worried about your time...then hang back a bit and let everyone get going, then start swimming.  I wouldn't say it's swim for your life. The first 1000m probably are the worst, but you can find spots where you're fine, then some contact, but then you're fine again.  It spreads out more after the turn around for sure.  I've always been about 3/4 of the way over from the wall (so more towards the buoy line).  Honestly, practice having someone swim over you. Get in a lane with a friend, and you two swim side by side and rough each other up a bit. If you are comfortable dealing with that, it'll make IMAZ less of a shock. I can tell you, IMCdA was MUCH worse--it was a slug fest, IMAZ was just a tad crowded.

I agree - I lined up toward the middle of the lake in the back, and after the gun, I waited about 30 seconds for the crowd to clear a bit.  It was a bit crowded but I have done plenty of swims with more contact. 

2013-05-03 12:45 PM
in reply to: #4726107

Sensei
Sin City
Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?
Yeah, remember that wall.  I forgot about it from the previous year.  It may put you out of position, but I looked over at it longingly when I was treading water and freezing waiting for the cannon. 
2013-05-03 1:00 PM
in reply to: #4725760

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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?

I had a lot of contact, as others have stated, during the first 1000m or so.  I positioned myself fairly close to the middle of the pack, about 5 rows of folks back, definitely in the mixing bowl.  

I never had any fear that I was "swimming for my life", but being my only mass start, it was a very unique experience.

Also, I should add that I think it may have been my best open water swim ever, primarily due to the contact.  I was too afraid to stop and check my surroundings for fear that I would get swum over, so in that regards, I think it helped me.

Floating on my back, under the bridge, the sun not yet broken the horizon, with the crowd going crazy, waiting for the cannon to go off may have been the most peaceful moment of my life.  

2013-05-03 1:31 PM
in reply to: #4725760

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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?
I did IM AZ last year.  My swim time was 1:21.  I watched every YouTube video available on the swim start.  From that, I guess that back middle was the place to start.  Towards the back either towards the wall or the buoy line was very crowded, but it seemed like in the middle, there were fewer people. Now, there were still issues with people swimming near me, a little bit over me, but it wasn't terrible.  And don't worry about not being able to draft being in the back. Once 2800 swimmers all get going in one direction, the whole lake becomes one big draft. Especially going around the buoys it seemed.  But, watch the videos, it helps.  don't look at all the people, look for the spaces.  I actually really enjoyed the swim.


2013-05-03 2:52 PM
in reply to: #4725760

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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?
Have these people done any other IM races for comparison?  I think its a total crap shoot how much contact you encounter in any given race...even the same race in different years.  Someone above mentioned IM CdA as being MUCH worse...I did CdA and don't remember anything out of the ordinary for that swim.  Get used to it...there is going to be contact in an IM swim...to think otherwise is simply not being realistic.  If that scares you, wait to start your swim until well after everyone else has gone.  My first IM Canada was a great swim and I barely had any contact at all.  The next year I lined up a little differently and ran into a total disaster of a situation with tons of contact that forced me to stop and assess the situation so I could escape it.  No way you can predict it sometimes.  I'm doing IM AZ this November and I will go expecting just about anything.  Good luck
2013-05-03 3:09 PM
in reply to: #4725760

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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?

I did IMFL in 2010 and IMAZ in 2012.  My swim times were 1:24:02 and 1:24:27 (at least I'm consistent).  

For me, I remember at IMFL that once I finally went horizontal (remember it's a beach start) it wasn't long before I swam into a "wall" of people.  Not sure what happened but there was a little bit of a bottleneck.  Things were packed around the first turn buoy and then it seemed people were more spaced out.  Had plenty of room on the second lap.

At IMAZ, it never seemed to me like the people got spread out.  I had contact almost the entire swim.  On the return leg of the swim, my leg actually got pulled, like someone was trying to pull themselves forward using my leg.  However, I never felt in any part of the swim that I was swimming for my life.  Contact happens in tris and even though I'm fairly small, when I feel contact I tend to swim stronger to hold my spot or I kick a little harder to let them know I am there.  I have had my legs swum over and have had to do it myself to get out of a crowd and find some open water, but I've never been pushed under nor have I pushed anyone else under.  I started more toward the left and just a few rows back (I didn't mean to start that close to the front, but the water just kind of moved me around before the cannon went off and that's where I was when it was go time).  If you don't want contact, start at the very back and wait a minute or two after the cannon goes off.  And practice swimming with contact.

2013-05-03 3:34 PM
in reply to: #4725760

Master
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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?

IMWI in 2009; IMCdA 2010; IMAZ 2011.

AZ wasn't bad at all.  I was a 1:20 ish swimmer, 60% back and in the middle.  Colder than I thought, but not bad in terms of contact.

Be ready, but don't overthink it!!

2013-05-04 6:49 AM
in reply to: #4725760

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Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?

I did IMAZ last year.   It was my third IM, done couple of HIMs, and many Olympic and sprints.   This was by far the worst swim that I have ever done.   Maybe it was that I was just not prepared for the conditions.   First, the water is really cold.  I have done Alcatraz and I swear this water felt as cold.   There is really no where to find space.  I got beat up the entire way out and then the entire way back.  I did line up in the front center for taking off and swim speed is probably where it would be most crowded.  I am comfortable getting beat up for a while at the start but was surprised it never changed the entire swim.  BTW, never felt I was swimming for my life.  I am very comfortable in the mash.  My only worry is getting hit such that my goggles get knocked and screw up my contacts.   Which never happen but I do be careful and breath opposite side when someone arms are close to my face.  I actually worry a lot less about legs. 

I highly recommend doing the practice swim before the race.   I am so glad that I did as I usually don't.   This swim had a deep water exit that I have never done before.  Initially I did not know how to approach it.

Also, if you line up further back at the start I am sure it would be far less crowded.   I lined up right in the front center where it is going to be the worst.  So my experience would be very different.

Besides the swim I am a huge fan of IMAZ.   It is probably one of the best spectator IM there is.  With the run there are people lined on the course most of the way.  I am sure others will feel differently but because of the swim I don't think I will do it again.   I really love the ocean and prefer ocean swims.  I know many hate the ocean and the waves and worry about creatures under the water.  

 



Edited by bartturner 2013-05-04 7:05 AM
2013-05-04 2:52 PM
in reply to: #4725760

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Great White North
Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?
Swim faster and stay ahead of the chaos.


2013-05-04 3:28 PM
in reply to: #4725760

Master
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ann arbor, michigan
Subject: RE: Ironman AZ swim: swim for your life?
I did this race in 2012 as well. I lined up pretty far to the left and swam the buoy line. 1:17 swim for me, so kind of middle of the pack. There WAS a lot of contact. The water is so murky that you can't really see people until you swim right up on top of them. I had it happen to me several times and I know that I did it to others several times as well. It never felt unsafe or excessive. It is just part of getting in to the water with 2,800 of your closest friends.

I did a sprint race last summer where a bunch of people who had no business being in the front of the swim all "seeded themselves" incorrectly. As I swam through this group I was beaten almost senseless--and this was a race with 180 entrants total. Contact can happen in almost any swim, you just need to resign yourself to the fact that it is going to happen and keep going.

Like others have said, the cold temperature of the water at Arizona was a far greater obstacle to me than the other swimmers were. It was freezing!
2013-05-04 6:35 PM
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