Today I took park in the 4th Annual Lap the Lake Swim in Wyckoff/Franklin Lakes held at the Indian Trails Country club. This is a terrific venue and the site of the 2015 Wyckoff/Franklin Lakes Triathlon (usually the following weekend) . The event has three distances 2.4mi (2-laps) , 1.2 and .5 mile (same exact swim course as Wyckoff triathlon) distances,. Again this year weather was perfect with scattered cloudy and bright sunshine , ideally for open water swimming overcast skies are best as there is no sun glare,but the partly cloudy conditions helped.
There were only 133 folks in my 1.2mile wave and after giving the 2.4 folks a 10 minute distance gap, the horn sounded and we were off, wading into the lake.
The shallow lake means you can wade into the lake for about 100ft before you need to swim , and there’s quite a bit of seaweed near the shore,but soon enough you’ll be swimming towards the first buoy. I hopped on a few swimmer’s feet and was able to hang with a small pod of swimmers until the first left hand turn buoy.
the buoy about .25 miles in came pretty quick , then the long back-stretch of the lake. This years back stretch felt a little easier and sighting was also easier with the sun peeking out through the clouds every now and then. My wetsuit a TYR Hurrican 3 felt a little strange when I would breath to my right side, so I need to see whats going on with that.
There’s only about 3 buoys pretty far spaced on the back side so its important to sight frequently to remain on course. At this point the field of swimmers was pretty split up. there was a pod of swimmers about 1oo yards ahead followed by a few others scattered nearby.
As we approached the double-buoy turn around at the far end of the lake, we were about to turn back when the sun and the corresponding glare peeked out from a could, but not too bad it was covered again, much less glare this year than last. On this return leg we kept the buoys on our right, and I was slowly creeping on on some of other swimmer in the 1.2m wave. Their red swim caps were easy to pick out. I also passed a few 2.4 mile stragglers . This was my favorite part of the race, I was really settling into my rhythm and could swim up to folks and slowly pull away from them. It’s always such a surreal feeling swimming next to someone in open water, you can just see their googles poking up though the water, knowing they are trying just as hard as you to swim fast, they’re probably having the same though about you.
As we hit the last double buoy it was a right turn for home. The trick here is sighting the big inflatables pyramid Aqua-slide or the tree line (same for the triathlon), that are part of the lake activities, there’s a bunch of these near the docks and it makes it easy on the return leg and aim for the beachhead.
After passing the inflatables you start sensing the seaweed and you know your close to shore , a few more strokes and you can pop out of the water and run into the beach and finish line.
This year I finished about 45s faster than last time. And this course unlike Navesink swim is pretty accurate distance and time-wise because this is a lake with little to no currents you can feel comfortable your swim times here will be reflective of your true swim capability.
Race amenities were light at the end of the race, but for the cost of the race, it was a well run event. Overall it was a really nice open-water event.. and all for a good cause.
I strongly recommend this event if your just getting into triathlon , particularly if your doing the Wyckoff race as you can swim the same race course and experience open water without having to worry about the rest of the race.