Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sasamat Swim

I did the 2km race and went in with several goals. The first, of course, was to beat my time from 2006 (last year I did for 4km swim). The second was to start in the thick of things and deal with my swim start psychosis and my third goal was to actually race the swim rather than do it as a set pace.

I started in the middle of the crowd and had no issues, it helps that I'm familiar with the lake and have so many people I know starting with me so it was a low stress environment. The crowd very quickly split up with a big break forming between the group of swimmers I was with and the group ahead. Most of the way to the first turn I was at the head of my group of swimmers. I couldn't get on anyone's toes as there was no one directly ahead of me, I realized that this must be what it feels like to be Stephanie (except slower!).

Before the first turn I found a pair of toes to draft off, lost them at the turn but found another set. I did have to battle to keep toes, at one point someone pushed me off the toes I was drafting off and I put my years of hockey watching to good use and hip checked her out of the way. There was a swimmer who kept breast stroking (whip kick in the water can be deadly) who I couldn't get in front of or away from which was annoying, especially on the last leg of the swim as a very aggressive group of women were pushing me in her direction. The more I pushed back the more aggressively they pushed me her way, it was a bit ridiculous as there was six of us swimming together with a whole lake to swim in but we were on top of each other for a good 15 minutes.

I was quite enjoying the battle and hopefully swimming well when I started getting out of breath and got a bit panicky. Suddenly my chest constricted and I was hyperventillating and I couldn't keep doing free. I swore loudly and did some breast stroke (shoulder checking first to ensure I didn't kick anyone in the head) to catch my breath and finished slower than my '06 time and, worse by far, well behind the agressive group I'd been battling with.

A disappointing race in some ways but I succeeded in the start and I definitely pushed myself speedwise. Maybe I pushed too hard, but as Sensei Harry used to say (back when I was the worst karate student ever), it's better to over correct than under correct.

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