My Rockingham round of the OWS in one word: surprise. I was surprised by my time, and I was surprised by my final position. Plus, I learned another thing that surprised me as well. Still improving, still learning, still making good experience, still enjoying the race: I couldn’t ask for more.
My final position. I arrived 5th overall and 3rd in my category. Now you may think “well, and so?”. Well, if you exclude the Albany round where not many people were around, Rockingham it’s my best placement to date in the OWS. It’s an improvement, and every tiniest step forward is always better than a step back. Also, I turned 35 in mid January, but since we are half through the season I am still racing in the open (18~34) category. A (small) medal in the 5 km in a OWS round: at the beginning of the season something that I had never considered. This alone was worth the day.
My time. I was fast, but everybody was fast actually. Really, winners in all distances came in pretty quickly. You can have just two explanations for this, either the condition of the ocean was great or one lap of the circuit was less than 1.25 km. Maybe both, however I would bet that the circuit was shorter. Sea conditions also were great indeed, I had never seen such a flat ocean before. However this alone cannot explain my 12’24″/km pace, which I can barely hold in a pool training session on a 1k timed. No way I could hold it in the ocean for 5k. My time was 1h 02′ 06″, which officially is my PB. Let’s say another step head instead of a step back, but I am not giving it much weight.
Pack and draft. The start was quick and the first three flyed away just after a few hundred meters. I though that I wouldn’t have gone far if I had tried to hold their pace, and I let them go. Or I should say that they just went. I was left with my training buddy and another guy. Nobody in front, nobody behind. Soon it was clear that we were going to stay together until the end and see who was the best sprinter. By the way, I was really glad to hold the pace of my training buddy, because it meant that I was doing a good race. And also I know that I wouldn’t have been wrong if I had followed them. As so it was. The three of us. Sometimes going in a straight line, sometimes side by side, sometimes touching each other feet, sometimes putting some distance, but always all togehter. For the record, the guy won the sprint, but I came in before my training buddy.
Buoys. In perfect sea conditions I am now good at following and turning around buoys. And I also learned that you can pass direction buoys on either side. Yes, I confess that I am realizing this at the end of the season, but at least I got it now. I also learned at looking carefully at all buoys before the start and memorizing their shape/colour. I know this is the basics of open water swimming, but I am still on the step side of the learning curve.
Bad. What was bad of that race was mixing up after just one lap with the 2.5k wave. Not all people in the 2.5km was bad of course. Only one of the was. Yes, exactly, one swimmer in the 2.5km wave decided to be annoying and aggressive, and I finished the race with an elbow on my teeth and a dark mark under my eye. I don’t see the point of being aggressive even if you are in the same race, and I truly think that being aggressive when you are swimming a different race it’s indeed quite stupid. However, that is going to be the topic of another post.