Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Augusta 70.3 Part 2 The Swim

Augusta 70.3 Part 2 The Swim

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.   

The dock you had to walk down

People getting perpared for the swim start.
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). 
"Seaweed" aka hydrilla

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.

Sample Ironman briefs

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.  :-) 
To be continued…

"Getting ready" for the swim

Bonnie ready to go

Bonnie and T before the swim


  1. That's an awesome swim time!

    A single direction swim. That's such a novel thing to me. haha I've only ever done loops or out and backs. Did you feel any current in the river or was it pretty stagnant?

    And obviously is was cool enough to use wetsuits. What was the water temp? I'm so used to races this time of year being wetsuit illegal.

  2. I def wouldn't be able to handle the "seaweed" *Cringe* Congrats on a great swim and PR!!!!!

  3. @Kurt - You can feel the current but it is very gentle. The water temperature was around 74F so it was legal. It was the first race I have ever worn a wetsuit. If was fine but it makes the "bathroom situation" wierd.


  4. aw man, i missed you but i def saw the sway stuff everywhere! i did the rleay but am all about the whole shebang next year! great job on your swim!

  5. Great swim Time! The guy in the Ironman underwear briefs cracked me up. I had seen him heading towards the start and did a double take.. Wait, did that guy... O K.

  6. Really fast swim time! Love the pics before the race. Nervous smiles but obviously having fun!