Well, let me just say I won my age group! That doesn’t happen very often…like never. With just a week away from my half ironman, this openwater swim was a great reminder of what it’s like to not hit the wall every 25 meters. I had tried to do an openwater swim a couple times earlier in the month, but weather and my son’s weekend sports schedule conspired against me.
I arrived way too early at the Parkside Aquatic Park in San Mateo but was relieved to discover we were swimming in the marina lagoon. The water was calm, no currents and a comfortable 65°. This was going to be far more comfortable than I had imagined, except that my last openwater swim was last September at the Sentinel Triathlon. I stood in line at registration behind two swimmers sporting that greenish swimmer’s hair and “STANFORD SWIMMING” emblazoned across the back of their overcoat-like jackets that real swimmers wear and felt very inadequate.
I was amazed how many people chose to swim without a wetsuit. Had to be more than half but I realize swimming events are not like triathlons. Most of these people are real swimmers and real swimmers don’t wear wetsuits. Most are also way faster than me in my sleeveless wetsuit.
I tucked in behind the pack that crowded the start line. I just wanted to swim a controlled race, focus on my stroke, and swim in a straight line. Staying comfortable and efficient would be very important next weekend to come out of the swim feeling good.
The only challenge was not being able to see some of the bouys to get a good sighting. I managed to swim straight but mostly by following swimmers ahead of me. I finished in 31:13, a PR for me and a confidence builder for next weekend. Kudos to the sponsors, the San Mateo Master Marlins for a very well run event.