Checked the weather Saturday night… risk of thunderstorms on race morning, yikes! Thankfully we woke up to a calm and pleasantly humid warm September morning with the risk of thunderstorms reduced to simply the chance of a slight shower, hurray! Having not swam since the pre-Covid shutdown in March, Coach Serena signed up for 2.5km swim. I – Coach Mark – having not swam since April 2020 decided to give the 5km swim another go (my first and last time doing it was in 2019).
A lack of pool time was a non-issue for either of us; we would have both preferred to have been able to swim but a professional has to be able to perform irrespective of what circumstances provide. We demonstrated that when done properly multisport training (aka cross-training) allows athletes to retain performance levels with minimal to no sport specific training. During the latter stages of the 5k, and especially in the final 1km to the finish chute, I could feel my entire summer of cycling powering a strong kick. Its been no different for many of the professionals swimmers in the ISL (i.e. International Swim League) as many lost pool time due to Covid lockdowns in their own countries yet they maintained their performance into competition by cross training (with many making up training time by cycling). Equally, many of the athletes who went to Tokyo for the Olympic Games had to also cross train in order to make up for training that was lost due to their facilities being shut down.
As for the results: Serena finished 4th overall and was the top overall female in the 2.5km swim. I swam to 3rd overall in the 5km event and was 1st in the 18-24 age category. Both of us were no more than a minute off our prior times for these events.
In the past, the largest OWS event we’ve ever attended was a 2019 Canaqua event where 70 athletes competed. This year the growth was astounding: over 100 swimmers attended the event this morning! Awesome to see open water swimming growing; or perhaps its a positive side effect of Covid locking down pools? Did everyone head down to Burlington beach or to a cottage lake this summer and realized you can train for swimming in places other than a pool. If so, that’s fantastic. Hope that the interest in open water swimming continues to grow.
Click to enlarge an image