Last Sunday, I participated in my first open water swim. The event was called “Swim the Sun” and it was hosted by US Masters Swimming.
Early early Sunday morning (4:45am!) a group of five of us from the Saluki Masters Swim Club departed Carbondale. We had a 2 hour drive west toward Lake Sunnen in Potosi, Missouri. We were off to a rough start because of the thunder and lightening, however, we were determined that the event wouldn’t be canceled on us.
While the weather did in fact clear up, the sun did not want to shine on us! On the car ride I sipped coffee and ate a Cliff bar. We made it to our destination around 7:15 am. The event was held at the beautiful YMCA Trout Lodge.
I was a bit nervous before the start. I did not practice swimming in a lake ahead of time (smh, I know!). The course was set up as a triangular 1-mile course, marked by three large inflatable cone-shaped buoys. There were lifeguards in kayaks scattered among the lake as well. My coach gave me great advice on sighting and I felt excited to swim.
I chose the two mile option, which meant I would go around twice. There were some swimmers there who chose to swim up to 4 miles. The start was from treading water that left in waves every 15 minutes based on distance. My group entered the water just before 8:30 am. We walked into the water from a beach with about 3 minutes to spare. The temperature of the water was 80 degrees. Since the air temp was only in the 70s, it felt good!
My first thought was that this was less scary than I expected. The water was deep and there wasn’t much to look at under the water. As I rounded the first buoy I felt confident. The conditions were awesome – barely any current and great visibility. I felt like I was pushing myself to keep up a good pace. I was glad that I wore my Garmin Vivofit as a watch and measure of my distance. At times I felt like I wasn’t taking the straightest route, especially when I looked over at other swimmers. But, following coach’s orders, I didn’t let that lead me astray. There was only one time that I got freaked out and that was when a piece of seaweed floated over my shoulder, lol. It took me 1 hour and 5 minutes to complete the 2 mile swim.
After the swim, we were treated to a lunch at the lodge’s cafeteria. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes never tasted so good! It was a great experience and I’d love do another open water swim again soon.