The swim in Augusta is unique.You must walk or be bused 1.25 miles upstream from you transition area.You then swim downstream the entire swim.There are also no turns during the swim.It is straight downstream with an exit up a boat ramp at the end.Needless to say it is a FAST swim.Someone said you could float a paper bag to the finish line in 45 minutes.I believe it because there was enough trash in the river to test the theory.
People getting perpared for the swim start. SOURCE
We visited the swim start the day before to get the lay of the land.The swim start is on a boat dock.There is a walkway the extended about 25% of the way across the river.To start the race you have to walk to the end of the dock and jump off. It is a “in the water” swim start.You float or sink till the cannon to go off.Then you swim like a mad man downstream with everyone kicking, slapping, touching, poking, etc. you (a typical Ironman swim start).
The river water is slightly dark and is full of “seaweed.”(It kills me to say that as a former freshwater biologist but it is a term everyone will understand.The “seaweed” was a mixture of hydrilla, eelgrass and human trash).As you swam in the river it would get stuck on your goggles or smack you on the face.It was kind of strange but not all that bad.I wish I had the picture of my friend whose swim finish photo has hydrilla hanging from her swim goggles on the swim exit.
Swim start with everyone crowded behind it.
My swim wave was #6 and it started at around 7:45.This meant I had to hall butt to swim start and had little time to enjoy the experience.Bonnie was one of the last waves and looks like she had a ton of fun (see photos) waiting around (regardless of the amount of complaining she did about having to go last).
I wish I had a photo to prove this but someone in my wave was wearing nothing but Ironman (the movie) underwear briefs.I do not know how he got away with it.It was really strange.
Another strange moment was right before the swim start we all had our dark green swim caps on and was starting down the start ramp when some 20 something asks “is this the green start wave?”.That kid gets the “here’s your sign award of the day.”Everyone around had a good laugh about it.The only person who responded said “no this is the pink cap wave start.”
Somewhere in the picture is Bonnie swimming.
It's like a "Where's Waldo"
The swim was great for me.It was fast and I set a new PR.I completed the swim in 28:01 (1:28/100m).It was all downstream and in a wetsuit so I had a great advantage over my other 70.3 swims but I will take it as a PR.:-)