So I took part in my first ever ‘1st Sunday of the Month Swim’ this morning. The venue for this monthly open water swim is at Clifton 4th beach with the registration and race briefing taking place at the waters edge.
An organised and relaxed vibe greeted me when I arrived at the registration table on the beach to sign up and have my photo taken with my race number. Admittedly i felt a bit sheepish arriving down there not knowing anyone or what to expect as a newbie. I did also feel a slight measure of guilt as I pulled on my wetsuit and surveyed the other swimmers that were congregating. I felt even worse when the ‘hounds’ came out of the water from a warm up swim. These guys and gals are English Channel rules swimmers and only wear a Speedo (costume for the ladies), goggles and cap and nothing else, these guys are hardcore! Needless to say I was valuing the warmth of my wetsuit as we headed into the water to get acclimatised. The air was a bit cool whilst the water temperature was estimated to be between 11c and 12c. It certainly felt a bit chilly as I began to have thoughts of the nice warm bed I had left that morning.
I headed off in the first group known as the hares (slower group) with many of the other wetsuit swimmers at 10am. It took me a while to get into a relaxed rythmm particularly after swimming into one of the ladies next to me. I felt bad and stupidly stopped mid stroke and apologised for slapping her. I carried on when I nearly got clouted from behind so much for being polite. After that I stayed on her feet as she led us out but as I dont like being led and I was starting to feel better I pushed on past her.
I was thankful one of the lifeguards (on a paddle board) was staying ahead of us and seemingly leading us on the best route around the course. I tracked him around the buoys and then made the turn at the halfway point back to the start. As I made the turn I was aware I had some space on the other hares and then became determined to lead our group in to the finish. I stupidly pushed a little harder than I probably needed to over the last 100m to make sure I hit the beach 1st. So much for a training swim but sometimes I am my own worst enemy and my competitiveness got the best of me.
I swam through the buoys and hit the sand stopping my Garmin at 23.50. I still had sea legs when I hit the beach and couldnt stand properly at first (embarressing) and swayed up the beach a bit to get my finishing tag. I was a bit chilly but was stoked to get a chocolate at the finish.
I was kind of sad it was over so quickly but was stoked I had got down there and taken part. It was a bonus that one of the swimmers told me to come along to Camps Bay on a Sunday morning for the group training swims they do. I definitely will as I realised that I still have a long way to go to prepare myself for a 3.8km swim if similar conditions arise when Challenge Cape Town comes along in November.
A big thanks to the organisers and the lifeguards that volunteer their time and made my first 1SOMS experience a great one. I cant wait until next month to clock some more swim time in the ocean.
Open water swimming is a challenge in itself but such an invigorating experience once you get out there. It really is the only way to swim! Just make sure that you prepare for the cold water.
So I got the results this week (link attached below) and my swim time was recorded at 23:23. I was stoked to see my swim time was faster than I had it recorded as it is now officially my fastest recorded swim time for a mile (I know I can go much faster though) .
It was great to see I was the first Hare out of the water, 2nd Wetsuit swimmer and 6th overall. I never come first and so it was a great feeling. I got a nice email from the organiser Warren or Waz as he is known saying well done and next time I should join the Hounds (pressure is now on to improve and keep up with these guys and gals).
One thing is for sure I will be hareing after the 1st Wetsuit swimmer (from the Hounds) as he finished in 23:22 beating me by 1 second. Like I said sometimes i am my own worst enemy but I love challenging myself and competing and I am looking forward to improving my swim times with the guys and gals from the 1SOMS.
See you in the water hopefully