Thursday, June 30, 2016

Swim Defiance 2016

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday.

It was rough, bumpy, swirly, and choppy, and there was a current that made you pay close attention so that, in your swim from the south end of Vashon to the destination of Owen Beach 3k later, you SIGHTED. A lot! And pointed yourself 30 degrees east even though your destination was south. Because that was the hand Mother Nature dealt you. A boat horn sounds and what's next ? You swim for your damn life. Soon, the cluster of competition is spread out over a large swath of water, the water is too tumultuous to see any support kayakers or even the finish line, but you trust, and you go, and you know that all those current-y, choppy Sound swims that came before this have conditioned you well.

First 20 minutes - adrenaline. Heading face first into a huge jellyfish, just a few strokes in, bristling at its feet-long tentacles takes my breath away. I scan for a pace swimmer. Try to get a fast rhythm and chill the hell out mentally/heartbeat-wise. It just happens.

Next 20 minutes - sight. Quick peek to see if there are any swimmers near you (nope not anymore, some sprint ahead, others fall behind). They're around but one can't see them because of the conditions. A distant support kayaker looms and a very large sailboat is crossing 30 yards in front of lonesome me. Feeling a very unorganized flow of water beneath me. It doesn't know what it's doing with wind and chop going SE and current sucking west/SW. Dig deep. Stay the course, to quote a republican.

Last 20 minutes - the finish marker is starting to look closer! Push. Dig deeper. Swimmers way to the west of me are coming toward me at a fierce clip and I fight to keep my position. At the end I hesitate  a few seconds when I see a yellow buoy, unsure if I'm on the right side of it. The volunteer ushers and assures me I'm on course and says to bring it in no prob!

One hour and six minutes in, I finish. And you know what? It was great. And I shaved a minute off my 2014 time (which was much calmer that year). 12th overall. I'll take it.

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