This morning I drove out to Malibu to participate in the Swim for Equality hosted by Equality California. This was a totally fun and positive event, I’m really glad I managed to get into it at the last minute! We’re having a bit of a heat wave in California right now and it was unbelievable beautiful at the beach down in Malibu. Sunny with no wind and really calm water (which was around 61 degrees!).
I got to the swim check in area around 8 and got checked in and numbered. What really surprised me is this was a Southern California open water event and I didn’t really know anybody there. I recognized a handful of faces, but not enough to put a name to them. I talked to a few people that said it was their first ocean swim or first swim like this in a real long time. Hopefully coming out and doing this swim inspires a few them to come out and swim some of the masters races in the area!
As we got closer to the start of the swim I got myself suited up and packed everything that wasn’t coming with me into my bag. This was a 1.7 mile point to point swim so the event staff was taking people’s bags down to the finish for them which was really nice. As tends to be the case in non Masters action I was the one guy in just a regular square leg swimsuit. I did see 2 other people that weren’t in wetsuits, but they were out in racing techsuits so they sort of blended in. Before it was time to go they massed all the swimmers together for a couple pictures and then sent us off into the ocean!
I was towards the back of the pack on the way to the water (I’m not much for running, plus I was playing with my camera a little), but by the time I hit that first buoy about 200m out I passed probably 3/4 of the people out there. From here there was a small group that pulled away from everyone really quickly and I was swimming in a scattered group of swimmers that was increasingly further behind them. Since this wasn’t really a race anyways, just a fun fundraiser type of deal, I tried to focus on just swimming smooth and steady to get ready for tomorrow’s 10 mile swim. I had a hard time finding the buoys that marked the course but it was just a straight line anyways so I just swam north and hoped for the best. I sighted off other swimmers from time to time and used the lifeguards on paddleboards as confirmation that I was doing the right thing.
As is my nature…. I stopped in the middle for a minute to get a quick picture and some video. The view from out in the water was totally gorgeous. I still can’t get over what a nice day it was!
After my brief cinematographic pause I made a point of trying to catch up to some of the people that had pulled away from me while I was messing around with my camera. I caught up to one of them but the other 2 were pretty much gone.
At the last buoy I came around and popped my head up for a bit just to make sure I was turning in the right spot. I could see a bunch of people on the beach but I couldn’t tell if they were the ones I was looking for. Another dude hit the buoy and was aiming for the same spot so I figured I was on point and put my head down and started swimming. As I got closer to shore I could feel the swells coming in, some pushed me a little forward some a little back. All of a sudden I could feel I had one building behind me that was going to be just right to surf in. I got picked up by the wave and started rushing towards shore. After a couple seconds though I realized I had no idea what kind of beach I was dealing with and didn’t want to end my ride with a head first dive into the sand so I tried to pull up and out of the wave… not the easiest thing to do! I managed to break free before I met the hard packed sand on the beach and then fought my way though the last little waves right there at the shore. The run to the chute was lined with all kinds of people cheering and yelling and it was totally awesome to finish like that. I felt like I won something :)
After the swim I hung out on the beach and watched everyone else finish. My friend Robin joined me as well to hang out on the beach a bit. Once everyone else cleared out we stayed on the beach for another hour just lounging around watching the waves and the dolphins playing off in the distance. It was really a perfect beach day.
Around noon we made our way out to Topanga for an after party for the swim. We drove up into the hills and up some squirrelly little roads to get to the house the party was at. The pool on this place was unbelievable. It was an infinity pool that faced out into a big wooded canyon. I want this pool! I floated around in the water for a while and sat around the pool soaking in the view and chatting with a few people. I don’t know why all open water swims don’t end like this… someone should look into that :)
I finished up my day with a drive down to San Diego. In the morning I have to be at the La Jolla Cove to take part in a 10 mile relay… with myself. I’m going to do the whole thing solo and this will be my biggest swim attempt to date. It’s supposed to be a learning experience/tune up for my 12.6 mile swim in October. Hopefully everything goes according to plan!