This morning I made my way off to Lake Norman in North Carolina for the USMS 1 Mile Open Water Championships. I entered the address for the swim into the gps and made my way into the forest. After 15 minutes of driving into the forest I made a left turn deeper into the forest… not that I live in the city or anything, but that was a lot of trees! It’s pretty out here in North Carolina but I’m not sure I could deal with the heat and humidity on a regular basis.
Once I got to the lake I stood in line for a while checking in. There were a lot of folks already there waiting and I saw some of the people I swam with yesterday at SwimMAC. I also saw Chris from the USA Swimming Foundation and talked to him a little bit. He went on to win his age group today in the 1 mile!
Once I was checked in I sorted my stuff out and made my way into the lake. The water was nice and tropical… 77 degrees! I’m in for such a shock on Monday when I go back to swimming in the Pacific! I swam out just a little ways, more just to be wet and get used to the water than anything else. Even though I didn’t need to worry about the temperature it’s always weird to go from salt water to fresh water. You float differently and need to adjust fire accordingly.
After floating around for a bit I got out to put on my B70 and go listen to the race briefing. We were going straight out to the other side of the lake, hanging a right to a far away buoy down the shore and then a right turn back diagonally towards the start.
The Masters’ race was broken into waves of 20 people. You had to give a 1650 time when you entered so that they could seed you by speed. I guessed too fast apparently. Off the start I was doing ok but the main pack started pulling away from me after the first turn. I felt a little sluggish, probably from all the travel and the excitement of SCY Nationals last weekend, but my pace felt really steady even if it wasn’t super quick. On the third leg a couple people from the heat behind me caught and passed me. Whoops. Anyways, I swam as close up to the the beach as I could at the finish to avoid walking over the rocks and mussel shells in the soft sand out there.
I didn’t catch my time, but I remember it being like 3 minutes slower than it probably should have been. Regardless I had a ton of fun and it was a great lake for swimming. I wish I had easy access to a lake like this for days I can’t trick anyone into the ocean with me. After the swim we did awards and I managed to get 6th place in my age group and walk away with a medal. After the mile I got a chance to meet a bunch of new people and make some new friends. Some people had seen me online either through the blog or at nationals. A good number of them will be out at other swims that I’m going to be at and I look forward to seeing everybody again!
Once the USMS race was out of the way there were 3 more races going on and the people running the event opened them up to those of us that swam the 1 miler. You could do a 800m swim, another mile, or a 2 mile. I decided to take advantage of this and do a quick 800m swim as a warm down and a chance to take some pictures. This event started with an all out melee style start instead of the 20 at a time approach we had for the championship. I let the bulk of the other swimmers get out before I made my way down the chute. I swam out and weaved in and out through slower swimmers until I was about half way down the line. I pulled out my camera and messed around there for a while and just made sure to stay out of the way of anybody coming my direction. I made a similar stop at the turn buoy as well. Once I was done playing photographer I swam it back in. I tried to stretch it out and just focus on my stroke.
After the swim I talked to a few people and then made my way back out of the forest. I cleaned up at the hotel and a little later on I met my North Carolina swimmer friend Cindy for lunch. She wasn’t in the swim, but just happened to be on the way through Charlotte today and stopped off to hang out for a bit. I think the rest of my evening is going to be pretty mellow. Going to try and get ahead on some rest now for the coming weeks. I hop a plane (well planes) home tomorrow and should be back in the ocean on Monday with my friends in Avila.