Key West Swims?

dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
edited August 2012 in General Discussion
Anyone have any feedback on the two different Key West Swims?

Swim Around Key West
FKCC Swim Around Key West

Thinking of getting one on my calendar for next year.

http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

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  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    Sign up with FKCC.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Yeah FKCC one. Fun swim
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    Thanks all.

    Just curious any specific reason to pick FKCC over the other one?

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    I've also heard FKCC is the way to go, but never any reasons. Perhaps it has something to do with the note near the top of the FKCC page? "The Only Sanctioned, Insured and US Coast Guard Permitted Race around Key West"
  • I did the Swim Around Key West and I thought it was an excellent event, and they had a coast guard sanction as well! I've never done the FKCC so I can't compare the two. I will say the trophy from this race was easily the coolest one I've ever gotten!
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    The FKCC swim took over from Randy Nutt a little over 10 years ago and has the support of the USCG and Randy. The other group isn't as well organized and is more seat of the pants.
  • I'd like to open this thread back up for discussion. Based on the advise posted above, last year I signed up for the FKCC KW swim. I must say that I was seriously disappointed in the organization or lack of! This year, I signed up for the "non sanctioned" swim around Key West. I truly hope that it will more organized than the FKCC. They also seem to have a bigger budget for advertising, promotion and yes, giveaways. If you swim around key west, you SHOULD get a really cool shirt and a medal. The FKCC swim was so low budget the shirts were throw aways and they didn't even have banners or anything on the beach to identify the finish line. (and by the way, I didn't see one coast guard vessel). I'd like to hear from those who have swam both. After June, I will be able to give a good comparison of both races. Although I sure wish they would simply join the two races back together and put on ONE heck of an awesome swim.
  • LOSTswimmerLOSTswimmer Oakville, Ontario, CanadaMember
    A bunch of us did the FKCC SAKW in 2012, we had an exceptionally good time, one of the best destination races I've ever done! Having said that, it was not because of the organization, which was just so-so. My impression is that the SAKW is the bigger, more established one, just the timing didn't work for us. I'd like to go back and try the SAKW too, to compare and because it is a great place for a race.

    Cheers, Rob

  • flystormsflystorms Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember
    I did SAKW last year and really enjoyed it. The medal is one of my favorites ever since is a small medallion that you can actually wear every day as a cool necklace. They had a ton of giveaways in a raffle afterwards which means the local economy supports it as well.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    The FKCC swim also recognizes the old records when the race was first established back in the late 80s/early 90s.
  • 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.

    flystormsbluemermaid9
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member

    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.

  • flystormsflystorms Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember

    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.

    Solitude
  • I've done FKCC 2x also and this year did SAKW. SAKW was by far the better of the two. It is much better organized!
    Solitude
  • 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.

    pattydhflystorms
  • SaraSara Member
    edited June 2015

    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.

  • MLambyMLamby New Member

    Hello,

    Question regarding trying to do the Key West swim.

    I train regularly in a pool, and normally complete a mile in a little under 1/2 an hour, and two miles at roughly the same pace. I competed in the NYC Triathlon in 2013 and 2014 and completed the one mile swim in around nineteen minutes. I also completed a three mile recreational ocean swim last summer in around 1 3/4 hours. I am considering doing the swim around Key West in June as a charity event in order to raise money for an organization called Grassroot Soccer. They are the reason I did the triathlon, but a severe foot injury has made it so that I can't run competitively any more. I just wanted to get a realistic idea of whether or not it would be possible for me to train for and complete a twelve miler in under 8 hours within the next ten months before I commit to doing it and get all the fundraising efforts in place.

    Also, do any of you know the date for the 2016 event? All the best!

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    MLamby said: Hello,

    Question regarding trying to do the Key West swim.

    I train regularly in a pool, and normally complete a mile in a little under 1/2 an hour, and two miles at roughly the same pace. I just wanted to get a realistic idea of whether or not it would be possible for me to train for and complete a twelve miler in under 8 hours within the next ten months before I commit to doing it and get all the fundraising efforts in place.

    Also, do any of you know the date for the 2016 event? All the best!

    You might be cutting close, but it's hard to tell. Key West doesn't have any appreciable current assist while the ocean pours into the Florida Bay through Cow Key Channel, which you have to swim through. The water there is extremely hot, which can slow you down. I'd consider an OW training swim of about 4 hours and see how far you go, and don't quite double it to calculate your final distance covered. It's tough to predict a time because every swim and its conditions are different.

    I never had a good swim there because it was so hot.

    In the end, it's up to you and how much you're willing to suffer.

    Chris

  • MLambyMLamby New Member

    Suffer. I love it. I saw in another post to go out and see what your breaking point is. I went out two days ago and got four miles in at the pool. Right around two hours. Wasn't at my breaking point either....pool closed. I was a bit dizzy afterward and my left shoulder was sore that night, but I was fully recovered in around twelve hours. I made sure to take in about 16 ounces of fluid every thirty minutes. I realize that's only 1/3 of the way thee though....and in a pool. My longest OW so far was three miles. I'll need to do that. Getting a waterproof iPod and polarized goggles to help with comfortable training. It's just so boring after a while. :) Any idea on dates for 2016???

  • IronMikeIronMike rebounds.quit.investedCharter Member

    MLamby said: I realize that's only 1/3 of the way thee though....and in a pool.

    Yeah, but that's 4 hours in a pool. Mind numbing. That's equivalent to much more (psychologically) in the glory and freedom that is OW!

    MLamby said: Getting a waterproof iPod and polarized goggles to help with comfortable training. It's just so boring after a while. :)

    Please don't wear the iPod in OW! Too many crazy boaters out there. You want to be able to hear them. Plus, the nature and sloshing of water is nice to hear.

    MLamby

    http://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike

    Where the hell is IronMike located? Find out here: https://what3words.com/

  • MLambyMLamby New Member

    Thanks Mike! Yes, the iPod will be for the pools swims. I can only go through so many "envelopes" in my head when I'm in the pool. :)

    IronMike
  • MLambyMLamby New Member

    I have so many questions regarding the swim, but will limit it to a few. :)

    First of all, I have completed an 8 1/2 mile swim across Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and did very well until I hit heavy chop and current with around two miles to go. It was almost impossible for me to swim through it even when upping my stroke considerably. It added an 1 1/2 too my ultimate time....making what could/should have been a 4 1/2 hour swim into a six hour swim. Is the chop and current around Key West that bad? I would be miserable if I had to DNF due to a patch of current that I just couldn't power through quickly enough.

    Also, I get terribly gassy when I take in my Gatorade (20 ounces every half hour to hour). Is that normal? Will it subside as I train more?

    Third. After I finished the Lake Geneva swim, my tongue felt like it had been burned by hot liquid and it took a couple days for it to mellow out. Is that normal?

    Lastly, is there a really good, detailed, easy to read and understand map of the course that has tips for how to save time and avoid shallows and rough chop?

    Again, there's more, but those are the pressers. Oh.....do you think I can even do it?? Thanks and all the best.

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    MLamby said:

    Also, I get terribly gassy when I take in my Gatorade (20 ounces every half hour to hour). Is that normal? Will it subside as I train more?

    Are you sure it's the Gatorade? It could be that you're swallowing air. Being gassy when swimming isn't necessarily a bad thing--it keeps your hips high in the water!

    Third. After I finished the Lake Geneva swim, my tongue felt like it had been burned by hot liquid and it took a couple days for it to mellow out. Is that normal?

    In fresh water, no. But in salt water, definitely. In fact, if you're having tongue issues in fresh water, you might want to figure that out before you attempt 8 hours in salt. There are many posts here with tips for dealing with this problem.

    Oh.....do you think I can even do it??

    No question. Check that box off of your list and focus on accomplishing it. You have 10 months to train. Build slowly.

    flystorms

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • I competed in the Swim Around Key West this past June. This was my first ocean swim and the chop was one of my biggest concerns. With as much open water practice as you can get in, it won't be an issue. But as we all know, we never know what the weather will throw our way. The Keys are not known for their rough waters. The day of the race it was mostly calm. The pre race meeting was awesome as far as going over the course. It's marked well. Your just swimming around an island, pretty hard to get lost. Have your kayaker study the map and you'll be fine. They tell you the parts to avoid where it's really shallow. There were a few parts that were more "choppy" than others. Going into the harbor with more boat traffic was one. But we had a bit of a push with tide. The race is planned to work in your favor as far as tides go. Unless you are really fast, you might be going against it for a bit. There were three parts in the race where we had a push. The last was the biggest and best. Like swimming down a river. I would start experimenting now with feeds and stomach issues. The race organizer Bill would probably answer any questions you have . Super nice guy. Last time I checked, he's swam around KW 50 times. I was hesitant to swim it last year, breaking my arm five month out and having only three months to train. But I finished in 5 1/2 hours and loved the race. Will for sure do again. And... As others said, it's very warm. So find some warm pools to swim in once in awhile. Hope you decide to give it a shot. You'd love it.

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