When we left off in Part 1, I was enjoying the view from South Cove and trying to find a measure of peace before setting off on the 28.5-mile adventure-slash-race. I always try to make room for a few moments of solitude in my pre-race routine – a parcel of grass, an empty park bench – to rid myself of tension and to reflect on how fortunate I am to be there.
This turned out to be especially important on the morning of MIMS, because it was a scene. Reporters, cameramen, families, friends, random onlookers – not to mention the field itself, full of well-known marathon swimmers from around the world. MIMS 2011 was particularly circus-like due to the Global Open Water Swimming Conference taking place in NYC the same weekend. Shelley Taylor-Smith, Penny Lee Dean, Anne Cleveland, Sid Cassidy, and Steven Munatones were among the open-water celebrities milling about South Cove that morning.
The start of Wave 3 (the top 10 seeded swimmers) can be seen at 11:27. I’m the third swimmer from the right at the start – you can see me most clearly at the right edge of the screen at 11:30-31 when the camera zooms in. A few seconds later, you can see Erica already taking off into a lead she would never relinquish.
Also of interest is this video of Shelley and Penny Dean (perhaps the two best marathon swimmers of their generation – of either gender) catching up on old times before the race start.
And now, presenting the solo swimmers in the 2011 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim:
At 9:30am, the first wave (Morty christened them the “sightseers” – ha, ha) went on their way. 10 minutes later, the second wave (the “semi-sightseers”) was off. A few minutes before 9:50, the ten “speed demons” lined up on the dock in reverse order of seed. A reporter from the NY Daily News asked me a few questions, jotting down my laconic responses on her notepad.
“Do you think you have a chance to win today?”
“Well, anything can happen out there.”
Not sure what ever happened with that interview (ha).
Here’s me avoiding eye contact; the two Miguels getting their game faces on; and Ollie Wilkinson standing up on the bench:
A few moments later:
Once everyone was lined up in order, we jumped. I positioned myself to the right of Ollie and John (not my brightest move, as I’m mostly a right-breather). Ollie asked me when I was doing my big Great Lakes swim. After a brief countdown, we were off.
To be continued…