UPDATE 9/8/2011. Please read my follow-up post.
UPDATE 9/12/2011. Another follow-up.
“What’s Wrong with Marathon Swimming” is the title of a recent op-ed/essay/rant by Scott Zornig, president of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association. Zornig’s piece, distributed through the SBCSA mailing list and Facebook page, has sparked some interesting discussion – but frankly, I haven’t heard many opposing voices. Shows who my friends are, I s’pose.
Three issues, basically, moved Scott to wield his poison pen:
- Wetsuits. Specifically, the use of them during marathon swims.
- Bootlegging – i.e., attempting a marathon swim without paying dues to the relevant governing body to have it officially observed and ratified.
- The misuse of the media. In particular, people who use the media to promote and glorify marathon “swims” in which traditionally accepted Channel Rules are not followed (e.g., wetsuits).
When I boarded the Bottom Scratcher the night of August 24, the first thing I did was plug in my phone and activate the Instamapper GPS tracking app.
Why was this the first thing I did? As most of my readers must know by now, I have as much fun (probably more fun, actually) analyzing marathon swims as actually doing marathon swims. Hence my six-part MIMS report.
As usual, the data tell an interesting story. The yellow path shows the GPS tracks of the boat which, except at the start and finish, was between 5-25 meters off my left side. The red line shows the straight-line “ideal” path between the start and finish. The white placemarks are self-explanatory.
I covered the first 5 miles in 2:06:50 (25:22 per mile), my fastest pace of the swim despite big swells and chop throughout the night.…