http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
Just got back from Key West and can tell you that the SAKW is BY FAR, the better race compared to the FKCC Race. Contrary to the "advertisements" the SAKW is fully insured and Coast Guard authorized. I saw Coast Guard boats and Marine patrol boats throughout the race and the committee boats were always within sight as well. The organizers did an excellent job with the pre-race meeting and keeping track of every swimmer in the water. They even had check points at the two bridges and they would clear each section of the race after the last swimmer swam past each bridge. Following the race, there was plenty of food, water, gatorade and prizes for the swimmers, kayakers and family. It was a huge party under a huge tent and everyone received recognition and raffles. The FKCC race did not even have a tent or a finish line banner last year. Sure, they gave out water and medals under a palm tree- but that was about it. Basically, the FKCC race is run by one gal who really tries her best to do it all, but that's just impossible. If you have any questions or issues pre-race or during the race, the help is just not there. The SAKW race is extremely organized and has leads for each area of concern. There is a safety lead, a support boat lead, a race director and tons of volunteers and sponsors.
With that said, swimming around Key West is awesome, and you should try it regardless of which race you pick.
I'm glad I was finally able to check this off my bucket list.
Thanks to the tarpon, lobsters, conch, reef fish, turtles, sharks, and minnows that kept me company along the route. And thank you to that Weather Gods who provided a glorious day with flat calm water and perfect visibility.
Does the RD still swim his own event? That is a no go in my book. It may not be a problem when things go smoothly and as expected, but if there is an emergency that needs the one in charge to make an official decision it doesn't help if he is in the water.
Yes, he swims it every year. While I agree with you that it's not the brightest of ideas, he does make it very clear who is in charge and making the calls during the race. He's more of a spokesman, honestly. The group of volunteers who actually run the show do an amazing job.
He has a race director that is responsible. I have done SAKW several times and it always goes off without a hitch. This years went well again and the conditions were perfect.
SillyShark sums it up. I too just got from Key West and swam this race last weekend. I really can't say there was anything I didn't like about this race. As for the organizer swimming this race, I didn't see a problem with that. He had this race so well organized and his committee was in place. They were all introduced the night before and explained what their rolls were. Safety plan was laid out. I actually thought it was pretty cool he was out there with the other swimmers doing his 65th swim around the island. Way to go Bill! I would recommend this swim.
I swam this year's SAKW swim too and the organisation was brilliant. Bill makes it perectly clear that he is not in charge on the day - there is a great team that keeps everyone safe. Having signed up for this swim I was worried by some of the comments on here about the swim, but any fears were completely unfounded.