A question about those in the boat watching you swim

swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
edited April 2014 in General Discussion
Taking a quick survey here of a simple question of substantial controversy. Or, not...

I've been involved in this sport for over 20 years now. My first race was serving as a trainer for 1984 and 1988 Olympian Jeff Kostoff at the USS 25K Nats in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Huge seas. Jeff was sick and barfed Carolina BBQ all over me in the kayak. I learned that day that the swimmer/escort relationship is paramount for a success.

I was told to never let your swimmer see you eat while their racing because it will get into their heads, make them angry, and negatively affect their swim. I've usually followed this when I've been a trainer, but have never been asked to keep it under wraps by the swimmers.

I've done probably 40 races in excess of 15K with escort paddlers/boats. I've always told them to eat and have a good time. It keeps me my mind occupied in the middle of 42K arm cycles. Some people get bent out of shape seeing their crew enjoying a buffet of gas station sandwiches, Pringles, and Gatorade.

What do you think and why? There's no wrong answer!

Comments

  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    Great topic swimmer25k. While on boat supporting my wife in distance swim- I ensure she never sees me eat . In addition on her English channel crossing's I try to ensure that I am dressed in a pair of shorts and T-shirt. It doesn't matter how cold the night gets or how cold the wind gets it's important that she believes that I am not cold (and sometimes this is damn hard to do !! )
    phodgeszohoGruntor
  • I have heard also that the swimmer doesn't want to see you be sick, eat or what have you. I would say that it depends on the swimmer.
    If I am 8 hours into a swim and craving a juicy steak... and I see a crew eating one.. there are two options.. one* get mad two* ask for a bite.
    It all depends. I don't think there is any one answer.
    DanSimonelli

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    As Observer and crew support for many Catalina swims, I made it a habit to ask the swimmer if it's an issue for them and then act accordingly, and direct everyone else to do the same.
    I found, like Susie, that it depends on the swimmer. Some care, some don't.

    And in the case of JC Malik on his Catalina swim last year...he smelled bacon and chose option two!! :-)
  • MandaiMandai Charter Member
    I always tell my kayaker to not worry to much about myself, just to stick to our half-hourly feeding schedule and ideally stay in my 1 to 4 o'clock vsion most of the time. In between he can pretty much do what he wants - eat, pee, chat with fellow kayakers, etc
    DanSimonelli
  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member
    I've also heard lots of swimmers don't like being able to see their crew eat, but personally, that's never been an issue for me. In fact, I'm usually quite pleased to see them enjoying themselves and taking care of themselves. I think of it as being like what they tell you during the airplane safety briefing: put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others. How can my crew properly care for me if they aren't caring for themselves first?
    dpm50DanSimonelliKatieBun

    Stop me if you've heard this one... A grasshopper walks into a bar... https://elainekhowley.com/

  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    I don't care if they eat in sight of me. However, I do care about not seeing the Singing Lunch part as I get motion sick rather easily.

    -LBJ
    DanSimonelli

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    Ha! "Singing Lunch" ...that's good!
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    I want to believe that my crew is happy and having a good time (even if they are not). If they are sick (Singing Lunch) I don't want to see it. If I see my crew sick or having a hard time I find myself starting to commiserate.

    They can eat whatever they want.

    The one thing that has bothered me during night swims is not seeing my crew. I know they are always watching, but I get feeling of being alone and physically vulnerable when I can't see someone on the boat keeping an eye on me (totally psychological, as all of this is).
  • jendutjendut Charter Member
    For me, a migraine comes from looking at a headlight. I figure that as long as the boat is moving, they are with me! I, too, would rather have my crew NOT miserable- if I thought my husband or dad was getting sick I would definitely lose focus.
  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member
    Ditto @gregoc re night watching. I've given the crew a glow stick to be used by whoever is watching so I can see someone watching. I do know and trust that they are watching, but it's nice to have proof. Dark blobs are not very comforting. Dark blobs with a small light is.

    My crew can basically do anything they want and as someone who doesn't travel well by sea, when things start to go downhill on a swim, my mantra is " I'm feeling shit, but at least I'm not on the boat".
    DanSimonelliphodgeszoho
  • jendutjendut Charter Member
    Glow stick is much better for me than head lamp - and I wholeheartedly share @ColmBreathnach's " I'm feeling shit, but at least I'm not on the boat" mantra. Half the time the knowledge that I would be even sicker on the boat is what keeps me IN the water during a rough patch...
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    I had an observer shine a flashlight in my eyes at night during a feed in the middle of a channel crossing. It was like looking in the sun. I was blinded for about 15 seconds and it hurt.
    I love being on boats, so that mantra never works for me.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    I'm with @ColmBreathnach - the glowsticks are perfect. Use a different colour for each person so you know who's there. They look like little floating exclamation marks from the water; I like the gesture of surprise at this weird, exciting thing that we're all doing.
  • RanieRanie Orinda, CAMember
    I think the people on the boat are angels. I can't understand why they are there for me, but anything that makes their trip more bearable the better. I must say the cooking bacon turned my stomach on Catalina, but there was nothing left to bring up, so I was glad my crew/friends we having a good breakfast.
    DanSimonelli
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    suziedods said:

    I have heard also that the swimmer doesn't want to see you be sick, eat or what have you. I would say that it depends on the swimmer.
    If I am 8 hours into a swim and craving a juicy steak... and I see a crew eating one.. there are two options.. one* get mad two* ask for a bite.
    It all depends. I don't think there is any one answer.

    Suzie,
    Funny you should mention swallowing a steak. I often begin to promise myself a feast when the end is in sight. Burger, steak, beer, fries, etc. You name it. However, almost every time I've had the spoils of my swim in front of me I really didn't enjoy it or passed on it all together. Maybe the fact that I've been swilling electrolytes, carbo drinks, and gels since before the Sun came up does something to your appetite.

    I'll share a small story. Dr Keith Bell hosts a nice 20K at Lake Travis outside of Austin, TX every October. You can swim as a relay or as a solo. The first two years I was on a relay and soloed from 2006-08. I beat all of the relays the last two years. I had a pretty good race with a team from the Dallas Aquatic Masters led by uber fast Bobby Patten. I finished in about 3:45 in 2008 with DAM about a minute behind. The race finishes at a bar on the lake. We all worked pretty hard and were way out ahead of the 3rd place team. Well, I got my huge burger for winning the swim. I was at a table sitting ALONE staring at my 1/2 pounder and getting nauseous thinking about all of the Gatorade I drank during the day along with being sunburned pretty bad. Bobby (who is a world class ball-breaker) came up to me alone at my table and said, "The best thing about winning is getting to eat with all of your friends". He patted me on the back, said, "Enjoy your victory meal, Champ!", and walked away. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry at that moment because I was cramping up and dehydrated. I miss that feeling.
    suziedods
  • I enjoyed watching my crew eat very much! I always feel like I am watching some sort of a strange tv show, and it's the same show again and again, so to see them eat was like changing the channel.
    The only thing that annoys me, and this makes no sense, is prolonged time texting/phoning the mainland. Usually they return with something nice to say, and the only reason they are on the phone in the first place is because of me, so I have no clue why this is so annoying to me, and feel very guilty that it annoys me.
    No matter if the person is on a boat, in the water, in a kayak, or walking on the beach (or even EATING!) I just like having someone there. Maybe it is because a phone takes them away momentarily.
    As with everything else, each swimmer is very different.
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Not a lot of experience to go on, but I'm cool w/ whatever a kayaker/crew wants to eat. Maybe if it was something very pungent smelling, that would be an issue (during a mile o.w. swim, I could smell a barbecue taking place on shore, and it got me a little queasy, but no big deal since I was near the finish anyway--on a longer swim, I could see that being a problem). As others have said, I'd rather someone be happy and eating than hungry and miserable--which wouldn't be fun for them or me.

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Ranie said: I think the people on the boat are angels. I can't understand why they are there for me, but anything that makes their trip more bearable the better. I must say the cooking bacon turned my stomach on Catalina, but there was nothing left to bring up, so I was glad my crew/friends we having a good breakfast.

    We enjoyed the bacon! ;)

    JustSwimChrisgreenessthomasIronMike
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