The fish will swim…of course! That’s what one does when you are flying solo for the weekend.
First up was Swim Across America, Rhode Island. It was an early bell in the morning as I needed to be in Narragansett by 7:00 to volunteer. It was my third SAA event of the summer and my first one solely volunteering. What I discovered was each SAA event has its own vibe. The vibe at Roger Wheeler State Beach was very collegiate. Collegiate in the sense that there were 600 amped and totally in shape up college swimmers ready to swim.
Local college coaches from Brown, Tufts, Boston University and the list goes on bring their teams there to bond and raise money before the season starts. I was tasked with the job of helping set up the banners and general help with whatever needed to be done.
After some great words of inspiration by the coach of Providence College to the swimmers about the importance of “making a difference” we were ready to begin.
It was a one mile two loop course with five waves of swimmers. I was settling in to watch what I expected to be some competitive open swimming when my friend and fellow volunteer, Jen asked if I wanted to be an angel swimmer. I jumped on it right away and said-yes!
As angels our job was to place ourselves throughout the course to make sure if anyone was struggling we would be there to help or encourage them along. The first wave of swimmers were the guys, they were jacked up, jumping up and down and dancing to the loud music as they sprinted into the water. Clearly, they didn’t need us angels! As the waves of swimmers went by you could tell who the pool swimmers were that don’t like open water and the divers that don’t like to put their face in the water. We encouraged some non-competitive swimmers along the course but other than that our angel services weren’t required.
With a lot of volunteers we made quick work of the clean up. The event raised over $200,000 for cancer research. It was a great way to spend a Saturday and to experience another Swim Across America event.
Next up on Sunday-Sharkfest Boston!
Last year’s English Channel swim was a slight (but, worth it) disruption in my three year winning streak and domination of my age group at Sharkfest Boston. I couldn’t let others down or actually I should say myself down by not taking the gold in 2018. With a slightly different course this year and a time trial start versus starting in waves I was a touch nervous.
After a very hot and humid week leading up to the swim wouldn’t you know it was chilly and overcast the day of the race. Like 30 degrees colder than just two days before. The best part was that the water was 68 degrees- the water temp was warmer than the air temp.
It was bit chilly staring at the Boston skyline from East Boston in my speedo waiting for the race to start. When it was “go time” it felt great jumping into the harbor. My stroke felt long and smooth and the harbor was fairly calm until the last third of the race and it got choppy which is actually kinda fun.
I felt good about my swim but the results would determine how good I really felt. I didn’t have to wait to long to find out that I felt really, really, really good about my swim…I won my age group…again! Truth be told there aren’t very many men 55-60 that don’t wear wetsuits. To bolster my ego a bit more I did a brief analysis and I placed third overall in men’s non wetsuit division all the way down to the 35-39 age group. See how fragile my ego is that I have to do that type of analysis.
I always enjoy the award ceremony as it’s not often I can stand on the top of podium in front of a roaring crowd. Well…except in the medal presentation when the race organizers work their way up the age groups in five year increments by gender and then by wet suits and non-wetsuits there are very few people in the crowd (like only a handful) when you get to men 55-59 non-wetsuit. It’s still fun to stand on top!
Another one in the bag until next year.
I enjoyed my solo weekend while the cat was away.