Today, I took part in the 9th annual Nave-sink -or- swim, it’s a an open water swim race and festival held in Rumson, NJ at the Navesink cove at Victory Park. Again this year , like the last few years the weather was perfect, and the water was calm and myself plus around 500 swimmers, got ready to take part in this open water swim.
Pre-Race . Course 1.2mile
I was doing the 1.2 mile race this year. The race was scheduled for 7:30am but because of the large line of race-day signups and the large overall field, there was about a 20 miute delay for the start. As usual its a great venue and this year it seemed particularly crowded, I don’t recall last year’s swim having so many folks.. Noentheless, I change into my sleeveless suit and managed to get a brief warm up. Water temp was a cool 63, but not frigid our uncomfortable, again swimming in the sleeveless made it pleasant because there was no should tug from the arm sleeves…
Race Report 1.2 miles
At about time 8:00 am the men’s 1.2 mile wave went out. This year’s course like last year ran clock-wise first around the piers, keeping the bouys on our right. I little bit of contact at the start because of the large crowd, but it settled down quickly, and by the first turn bouy there was some separation. The sun was behind us on the west-bond leg. I felt really comfortable here and felt myself moving up the field (something I almost never experienced) as the number of swimmers in front of me began to thin and I managed to draft of a couple of swimmers, but they seemed to zig-zag a bit and before I knew it I was swimming solo again. Sighting was good, the red and yellow bouys (Although the course could use more) , made them easy to spot on the way out .
Again hanging with the draft, I was making a bee line right for the bouys and came up on them pretty much on target. The green turn around bouy seemed to take a while but I knew I was moving forward. This swim I really had an easy time breathing to both sides and was probably 50/50 on left and right side breathing ( in the past I would typically breathe only to my left in races. As we hit the green turn-around bouy it was 180° turn east bound and right into the sun. Arggh, this course goes directly east at this point and at about 8:15am the sun was still low enough, and the return bouys were far enough that on the return leg, I had to just keep following the other green swim caps.
For the better half of the return leg I was swimming just following the general direction of the other swim caps, I did not , could not, sight a bouys it was only when I was like 10 yards away could I clearly see them. Again I was still feeling good, and kept pushing passing a few more swimmers as the next bouy came into view.
The bridge in the distance is a pretty good landmark, plus breathing to my right I could see the shoreline. as I felt we were coming back for home , I made another straight line for the green turn around bouy . This was the final right hand turn that would face me towards the cove and the finish. I did go a bit wide on the finishing run in. But with the marshals waving the red flags and the Sandy Hooker banners, it was easy to see and I plowed ahead. As I neared the shore I felt someone on my toes as there fingers kept touching the soles of my feet, but by then we were done. A few more strokes and I could see I hit the shallow end, and I popped up out of the water and up the few steps towards the finish..
I was done, I looked down and and was a little disappointed to see 34:27 (34th place male) , again maybe I swam faster this year, but the Sandy hooker swim course are not known for not being the most accurate.. It’s kind of impossible to compare open-water swim races even on the same course, in open water so many conditions can change such as currents,wind , chop, sighting , bouy placement, race participants etc. and vary greatly day to day.
With the race over , I grabbed some after race food and then chilled and watch some of the other finishers , and the 2.4 mile swim which was still on-going. . I got a chance to chat with some of the folks I see at the pool where I train in Holmdel and it was a great day so just taking in the sun and crowd.
That’s to all the organizers , Split Second Racing , Sandy Hookers,Long Branch life guards and police, and EMS folks and particularly the volunteers for making it a well organized and fun event. Keep up the good work looking forward to the 10th annual race.
- Sleeveless suit, is the way to go, I have had two open water swims and the suit provides enough lift (buoyancy) in the legs with all the freedom for the shoulders…
- Although my sighting was good, I could do better , take more time for course recognition before the race, so you can be more aware in the water.
- Work on pacing and drafting. Try to “pick” out slightly faster swimmers and draft off them, I did this a little better last year.