Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race - Swim

Rohto Ironman 70.3 Florida Race - Swim
The swim was held in a lake on Ft Wilderness property.  It appeared to be a clean but dark lake.  You could only see feet if they were about 1 foot in front of you.  The water temperature was announced to be around 83F so it was nearly bath water temperature.
Pretty Beach
The swim was where I put the most work into for the past couple of months.  Over the past couple of months I had to teach myself how to freestyle stroke efficiently.  For the majority of my life I breast stroked (stop giggling) because of a shoulder injury that prevented me from moving my shoulder in particular ways.  My breast stroke (stop giggling) was particularly good, very fast and I can do endurance swims using this stoke but I figured on a 70.3 I would wear my legs out for the rest of the race.
Beach Start

The swim start was a beach start so no one was in the water to begin with.  When the gun sounded everyone ran into the water to begin their swim.  The water was way to warm and the swim was very crowded for a while.  Several people where grabbing feet and trying to swim over one another but the crowd quickly spread out.
The lake in the morning
For the first 100 or so meters I had trouble sighting.  There were a ton of boats in the water and water was pretty choppy for a lake.   After fighting getting off course for a while I saw a swimmer in my group who was slightly faster than me but a strong swimmer.  He was easily fighting the crowd so I decided to draft him for the entire race.  It was a great choice because he fought the traffic and weaved in and out of the crowd with ease.  This meant I did not have to do it.  It also meant that I had did not need to swim so hard and I did not need to sight for the entire race.  After the swim I thanked him for the draft and he said he was happy to have me behind him because I prevented people from swimming over top of him and/or grabbing his feet.  It was a win/win for both of us.
The swim was much easier than I expected.  This was probably because I concentrated so much on drafting the guy in front of me and not letting him get to far ahead.  When I got out of the water I felt great and was not winded.
Many people could not make the swim (or panicked) and had to drop out of the race.  They had to be brought back on the boat of shame.  Many swimmers were floating on their backs and clearly did not train properly for a swim distance. 

Side Note:
Last night I saw Kris Kristofferson in concert.  I had 3 row center in a very small theater.  He preformed for just over 2 hours.  It was a great concert and it was the second time I have ever seen him.  After the show he signed autographs for everyone who waited.  He was a super nice guy and it was a great concert.  All that was on stage was him, his guitar and his harmonica.  I ended up getting his autograph.
Great Seats
Signing Autographs

Very cool.


  1. I too was there. I should have done better on that swim, but hadn't put in enough time in swim practice. Very cool your getting to see Kris Kristofferson. I'm envious.

  2. oooh well done for jumping on some 'feet' :)

  3. Eighty Three Degrees?! I might need an ice bath after swimming that! Wow.

    I don't doubt at least a few of those swimmers who had to bail did so due to overheating an exhaustion. I much prefer a temp of high sixties!

  4. Nice job finding someone to draft on the swim. Lucky for you he was trustworthy on the sighting aspect!

  5. Glad I checked out your blog, congratulations on nailing the swim! Picking someone to draft off for the entire swim was a great idea, I imagine it was a welcome distraction. I may employ that tactic and see how it works. :)

  6. Me again --- I see you did the Gasparilla Half Marathon. That is a favorite. Although my home is central Illinois, we have family and friends in the Tampa area and for the past five years I have managed to make it to that race.