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Race Report: 4.4 Mile Chesapeake Bay Swim
CREATED: 06/15/09 by suzkinsky REPLIES: 4
suzkinsky's ravatar suzkinsky    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 121
Race Report: 4.4 Mile Chesapeake Bay Swim
POSTED: 6/15/09 12:15 PM

Hey guys, how did it go?

This was my 5th year swimming this event and probably my last for a bit - I plan to take a year or two off to try some other races (like Eagleman). This year was tough - probably the 2nd toughest conditions I've encountered. Things were going swimmingly until I rounded the bend and started to head for the shipping channel and then it became very choppy and difficult to maintain my line in the current. The whole field was swimming at a 45 degree angle.

Halfway through the shipping channel I could really feel the tide shift underneath me and I just tried to sight more often and concentrate on getting good, strong, quality strokes to get myself through. The conditions weren't unnerving to me but there was a part of me that was like, "Ah man!"

The second half of the swim was mentally tough, as usual, as you seem to make very little progress toward the end of the bridge. With about a mile to go I kept running into little bottlenecked groups of swimmers trying to hug the south span but not get sucked underneath it by the current. This helped me a lot, as I tucked in and drafted for a bit before either the group broke up or I swam through.

Finally reaching the point where swim back out from underneath the spans is always the best part of the swim - my mental cheerleaders kicked into high gear here and I really turned on the gas to make it to shore. I finished feeling really good about my level of effort and execution but when I saw my mom at the finish line she said, "Wow, you were a lot slower this year." Ack!!! I saw a former teammate of mine in the finish chute and he was completely spent and said he'd had a terrible race.

Checking the results confirmed my slowness: 2:11, my 2nd slowest crossing over. But - everyone else was also slow (only 90 people managed a sub-2 hour???) and my 4th place age group finish was the best I've ever placed (I've been 6th a few times but have never cracked the top 5). The race announcer said that they had to pull over 100 people out of the water - a huge number!

All in all, a great day and proof that the Bay is a unique beast. At least with running and biking you know what kind of course you're in for. The Bay is like starting a race and not knowing if it'll be pancake-flat or running straight up hills on gravel (yesterday was more of the latter).

Congrats to other competitors!

guinness    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 64
RE: Race Report: 4.4 Mile Chesapeake Bay Swim
POSTED: 6/15/09 12:33 PM

Great job, Suzanne, in less than ideal conditions! Your experience in swimming it before definitely helped (as well, of course, of all of that early season training for Kinetic). I'm fairly certain we were passing each other out at Seneca (I was usually going toward River, and you, if it was you, were climbing up toward that road at which Seneca ends - 118? 28?) for much of the season, by the way! Thanks for a great race report and describing how tough it was out there. The Bay swim really is its own beast and is a great event. You're having a strong season so far with a solid race at Kinetic in tough conditions and now the Bay in similarly tough conditions!


wombat's ravatar wombat    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 269
RE: Race Report: 4.4 Mile Chesapeake Bay Swim
POSTED: 6/15/09 1:33 PM

Congratulations Suzanne! It was tough out there.

Turns out it was too much for this Bay Swim newbie and I was pulled out of the water at mile 3. I developed shoulder pain three weeks before the race so backed off my training and prepared to take it slow and easy during the race. First two miles were fine. Then my shoulder started hurting and I was forced to swim at a 45 degree angle to stay on course. The closer I got to mile 3, the more it felt like I was swimmng at a 90 degree angle. Stupid me would have keep pushing on and risking damage to my shoulder so it's probably best that I was pulled off the course. Disappointed, but I'll just have to do better next year!

mccannjl's ravatar mccannjl    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 216
RE: Race Report: 4.4 Mile Chesapeake Bay Swim
POSTED: 6/15/09 1:35 PM

congrats suzanne, that sounds like a beast of a swim! given conditions (hell, even with no conditions!) you did fantastic! NICE WORK!

suzkinsky's ravatar suzkinsky    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 121
RE: Race Report: 4.4 Mile Chesapeake Bay Swim
POSTED: 6/16/09 9:40 PM

Thanks guys! Anathea, you're doing ICDA, right? Good luck! Wombat, I'm so sorry to hear about your Bay. Don't give up - this was just a bad year!

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