This weekend was the SouthWest Regional Open Water Champs. I had entered the 10km on Saturday and then a 5km and a 3km on the Sunday.
The whole weekend was glorious sunshine which made hanging around before and after races very pleasurable. The 10 km kicked off the weekend. The water felt cool but not ridiculous. The starter’s signal went and we were off, I tried to keep on the heels of a girl (Harriet Tuck) who I knew was super quick. I think I stayed there for about 30metres before she got away! I could see two girls had got away in front of me and that there was one girl clsoe behind me. I found myself swimming next to a guy who seemed keen to keep up the pace so each of us took it in turns to push until we had dropped the girl(now I know was Kat Baker). Myself and this guy swam 2 of the 5 laps together and then I kicked off and dropped him(I found him fully dressed as I got out, he had pushed too hard at the start and had cramped badly…oops…guilty….sorry)
Anyway, the whole thing felt like a really long way and I was getting a bit fed up by the end of the 4th lap but battled on through the final lap, finishing where I started as 3rd girl. I was 2nd in my age group in a time of 2hrs 51. Not too bad but I think I can go faster.
Sunday started with the 5km. I nailed the start and got onto the lead pack’s feet. I stayed there for a little while and slowly lost touch, but I know I am not yet quick enough to stay there. Then my worst fear, a race between 3 girls! All 3 of us were battling each other for the first 1.5 of 3 laps. Then Kat(who I had beaten in the 10km) kicked off and I couldn’t stay with her. Thankfully my efforts of trying to stay with her meant that I dropped the other girl in the group and over the last lap extended my lead on her, although I knew that I could not ease up the pace as she was not far behind. I finished 4th in my age group in 1hr 23mins.
3km…….really…..? Suddenly a load of kids (under 14 age group) turned up wearing their race goggles, Fina approved speedsuits and generally looking like they were there for business. I was busy eating a whole box of fondant fancies with a coffee, in my bikini.
Now I had a great advantage of knowing the course and that the starters signal was often quite abrupt and unexpected. the whole field went into deep water. I stayed shallow, in line with the turn buoy which mean I could push off the bottom. I was watching and as the flag went down I was off. I realised I had clear water and was thrilled. I knew these kids were going to swim over me in about 15 seconds but I was so happy that I nailed the start so well. As predicted the lead group zipped passed but I stayed with a small second pack and we hammered round the 2 lap course.
Navigation was an issue with some competitors and I have realised that people don’t seem to be able to go round buoys…….in all the races whenever I took places it was on the turn buoy. Why leave 2 metres when you can swim 2cms from the buoy??
A sprint finish and I had completed my final event in 47 mins. I won my age group……ahem….no second place……!
A great race, a beautiful setting, clear water and a great training weekend…..18km race pace…phew!
NEXT WEEK REST WEEK!