This past week in Roberval, QC Canada, the best open-water swimmers in the world converged on Lac St-Jean for the FINA World Championships. The contested distances: 5K, 10K, and 25K. Team USA made an impressive showing: Eva Fabian (5K) and Alex Meyer (25K) took gold in dramatic fashion, and Fran Crippen took bronze in the 5K (and 4th in the 10K). Fabian, who kicked my ass ’round-and-’round the Miami Marine Stadium in April, was also co-leading the 10K until she was disqualified for missing the final buoy.
In a sport that has been traditionally dominated by Europeans, the Americans took 2nd in overall points (behind Italy).
I’m usually not one to back down from a race. So, my decision to scratch yesterday’s 2-mile Lake Erie Open-Water Swim was not without regrets.
I had some chores to take care of down in Columbus before the renters move in to our house. I figured, instead of returning the same way I came (through Indianapolis), I’d swing through Cleveland and reward my hard work with the Lake Erie swim, which is part of the GLOWS series.
I made it up to Cleveland Friday evening, but soon after checking into the hotel I opened my laptop and read some disturbing news: A “swim advisory” at Edgewater State Park – the beach just west of downtown Cleveland where the swim would take place. Elevated E. coli levels, apparently.
Now, Cleveland has cleaned up its act in recent decades – recall the 1969 Cuyahoga River Fire – but this was not what I wanted to hear. On top of the Friday swim advisory, there was also a large thunderstorm making its way through town at that very moment. Meaning even worse water quality the next morning.…
RESULTS posted here.
The final USMS Open-Water Championship of the year – a 10K at Morse Reservoir in Noblesville, Indiana – was impeccably organized, highly competitive, and set in a gorgeous location. In short, everything a successful open-water event should be.
But Dick Sidner and NASTI went above and beyond. From the boat tours of the course, the loaded goody bags, the detailed pre-race briefing, the generous sponsor gifts, to the efficient hydration/feeding procedures, the friendly and encouraging volunteers, the large shade tent, the delicious post-race lunch – all the details were just right. One expects a certain amount of fly-by-the-seat-of-pants organizing at open-water events, but this one was smooth from start to finish – a gold standard for all future hosts of the 10K Championship.
It was both the most enjoyable and most painful open-water event I’ve ever participated in.…
RESULTS posted here (PDF).
The 2-mile Cable Champs at Chris Greene Lake was another “surgical strike.” Fly in one evening, swim the next morning, fly out the same evening. It’s not my favorite way to do things – I would have loved to check out UVA and Monticello, for instance – but my budget (time, financial, and marital!) dictated that I get back to Chicago in time for dinner.…